If you really want to impress your friends, don't ride your bike to school; take the fire truck! Pierce Downer School students welcomed third-grader Lucas Marra with cheers as he stepped off a Downers Grove fire truck on December 9 with his chauffeur for the morning, Firefighter/Paramedic Dale Smith.
Lucas's name was chosen from over 500 home fire escape plans submitted as part of a contest sponsored by the Downers Grove Fire Department. All third graders who participate in the department's Learn Not to Burn program are eligible to participate.
Classrooms are visited seven times during the school year between September and May. The program teaches students about fire safety and includes take home exercises to reinforce what they have learned. Children and their families are asked to test their home smoke alarms, as well as plan and practice an emergency fire escape route at home.
Students submit their home escape plan for a chance to win a morning with a firefighter that includes the breakfast of their choice at the firehouse and the famous ride to school in the fire truck. They can even bring along their teacher and one friend. Firefighter/Paramedic Smith instituted the coveted prize 17 years ago and much like the students and teachers, he looks forward to the experience year after year.
The fire department hopes that all Downers Grove families, not just those with school-age children, will plan and practice their own home fire escape plan.