Fire Prevention Week goes virtual!

It’s been a long-standing tradition at the Monticello Central School District to welcome local firefighters into the schools each fall for Fire Prevention Week. Students typically get to get up close and personal with the trucks and equipment as they learn how they can prevent fires. However, 2020 has been anything but typical, so administrators needed to get creative to make sure that students still had the opportunity to learn this important, potentially life-saving information.  

Student Resource Officer, Michael Barret, Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School Principal Chris Palmer, Fireman Wayne VanderMeulen, Fireman Justin Mapes, George L. Cooke Elementary School Assistant Principal Melanie Hector and Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School Assistant Principal Doug Murphy pose in front of the Monticello Fire Department.

The district ultimately teamed up with the Monticello Fire Department to make the annual presentation a virtual one. On Oct. 14, a group of administrators headed over to the firehouse to film a video of firefighter and Monticello alum, Justin Mapes explaining how to check smoke detectors, how to make an emergency meeting plan, how to call 911 and other tips to prevent fires. Principal Chris Palmer, Assistant Principal Doug Murphy and Assistant Principal Melanie Hector demonstrated how to stop, drop and roll and Fireman Wayne VanderMeulen showed off how the firefighter’s uniform and equipment keep them safe in a fire. Fireman Mapes finished out the presentation by answering a set of pre-recorded questions from students and inviting the children to ask their teachers to relay any additional questions to the firehouse. The finished video was then shared to the district’s Facebook, YouTube account and website so that students in Monticello and beyond can learn information that might help save their lives one day. 

Principal Chris Palmer, Assistant Principal Melanie Hector, Fireman Justin Mapes, Assistant Principal Doug Murphy and District Public Information Officer Courtney Bonfante pose for a selfie mid-video shoot.

“We’re so grateful to the Monticello Fire Department, and to all of the brave first responders who help keep our community safe,” District Public Information Officer Courtney Bonfante said. “Although the COVID-19 pandemic may have limited our ability to have visitors in our schools, it definitely didn’t limit the MFD’s enthusiasm for sharing this potentially life-saving information with our community’s children.” 

Fire Prevention Video