A sea of red junior firefighter and EMT helmets took over the Plaza at Rockefeller Center on Tues., Oct. 7 as hundreds of New York City school children celebrated National Fire Prevention Week 2014.
The special event brought the children together with the New York City Fire Department and Tishman Speyer and served as a reminder to everyone in attendance to be vigilant about fire safety.
“We know teaching children to be fire safe will not only empower them, it can also save their lives,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “Our free fire safety education program, which is funded by the FDNY Foundation, is critical to reducing fire deaths; especially among children.”
Commissioner Nigro administered the Junior Firefighter and EMTs Pledge – an oath designed to remind children to practice fire safety – swearing-in the Junior Firefighters and EMTs.
The students traveled to Rockefeller Center from schools across the five boroughs and had the opportunity to interact with firefighters and fire equipment.
Nicole Willheimer brought her students from PS 375, Mosaic Preparatory Academy in Manhattan.
“It’s important they learn how to protect themselves in case of a fire. And I hope they go home and encourage their parents to get the proper tools they need, like smoke detectors,” she said. “I was absolutely floored at the opportunity to participate. I’m so thankful to give the children the opportunity to learn how to protect themselves directly from the FDNY.”
The students moved through demonstrations presented by the Fire Safety Education Unit, including a hands-on look at how to operate legal window gates, how cooking fires can begin and what smoke looks like inside an apartment or house.
“We have stations for them and the children go home and bring the information to their parents,” said Lieutenant Anthony Mancuso, Director of Fire Safety Education. “Without the Foundation, we couldn’t do this event, we couldn’t do the work we do every single day of the year. We want to reach the very young, they’re so vulnerable and the Foundation helps us get this crucial message out.”
“The Foundation is proud to fund the fire safety education program,” said FDNY Foundation Chairman Stephen Ruzow. “Our greatest privilege is to support the work of the FDNY by helping to prevent deaths through education.”
At the event, each child also received the newly-released FDNY Fire Safety Activity Coloring Book. The coloring book was funded through a generous donation to the FDNY Foundation from Toys”R”Us. The book is distributed at schools and events throughout the year and helps to spread important fire safety lessons to youth across the city.
“It is our pleasure to sponsor the fire safety activity coloring book, which serves as an impactful way to support our community as thousands of kids learn about fire safety year-round in a fun and engaging way,” said Toys”R”Us Corporate Philanthropy Manager Rachel Willard.
“We are so grateful to have partners like Tishman Speyer and Toys”R”Us,” said FDNY Foundation Executive Director Jean O’Shea. “This donation allowed us to redesign our activity book to continue to make fire safety lessons fun and interactive for children throughout the city.”
The students and Fire Commissioner Nigro were joined by FDNY Chief of Department Edward S. Kilduff, members of the Department’s Fire Safety Education Unit, FDNY Foundation representatives and Fire and Life Safety officials from Tishman Speyer.
“This is a great day at Rockefeller Center. We are proud of all of the students who were sworn in as Junior Firefighters to celebrate Fire Prevention Week,” said Frank Bavaro, Director of Fire and Life Safety, Tishman Speyer. “I want to give a special thanks to Commissioner Nigro and the great Firefighters who were here today to teach everyone about preventing fires in our city, communities and homes.”
“Education material, great events like this and consistent community outreach are how the FDNY is reducing the number of people lost to fire year after year,” said Commissioner Nigro. “For the FDNY, talking about fire safety is a full time job because we know by preventing fires and educating the public, we can reduce the number of fatal fires.”
For more information about the FDNY Foundation’s public outreach programs, including the Fire Safety Education Unit, CLICK HERE.