Students receive smoke detectors

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Binns Kindergarten students at Jennings Randolph Elementary School raise their pinkie fingers Wednesday with Bryan Warner of the Elkins Fire Department to promise they will check the smoke detectors in their homes twice a year with the help of their parents.

ELKINS — For the third consecutive year, fire companies in Randolph County have partnered with the Snowshoe Foundation in order to raise awareness among young students and increase fire prevention.

Fire departments across Randolph County are working throughout the month of October — National Fire Prevention Month — to distribute smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to every kindergarten student in their area.

Elkins Fire Chief Tom Meader said, “For the last three years, we were fortunate enough to partner with the Snowshoe Foundation, (which) was able to buy smoke detectors for every kindergarten student in Randolph County.”

Voras Haynes, vice president of the Snowshoe Foundation, said, “We think this is a very important thing with all the people in the area who burn wood and coal to heat their homes — having a carbon monoxide detector is a huge addition to that.”

“We like to involve the fire departments because the kids are very excited when the fire departments come and the firemen give them the smoke detectors,” Haynes said. “Hopefully, when they go home, they’re excited about them and mom and dad will put them up.”

On Wednesday, Bryan Warner and Owen Poe, both of the Elkins Fire Department, visited Jennings Randolph Elementary School to meet with kindergarten classes and talk about the importance of fire safety.

The pair of firefighters emphasized the importance of planning for a fire at home. Warner told students they should discuss and have an emergency plan with their families in case a fire would occur in their residence.

Students in the kindergarten classes were able to check out the many compartments on the exterior of the fire truck that hold tools used by firefighters in emergency situations. Warner and Poe talked with students and explained how much of the equipment works and what it is used for.

In addition to Randolph County, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors also are given to kindergarten students in Pocahontas and Webster counties — totaling more than 500 detectors.

Haynes said for many years, Brenda Swecker, a Valley Head resident, worked to raise money along with the Valley Head Volunteer Fire Department to donate smoke detectors to classes at Valley Head Elementary School. As their project grew, Swecker eventually began also donating to students at George Ward Elementary School.

“She had come to the Foundation probably 10 years ago, and we thought it was a great program that we could help with,” Haynes said. “Three years ago, after we had ran a successful raffle or two and had money to give away, we thought we would like to expand that to all three counties.”