WILTON —  It may be old news but let’s go over it again, Fire Chief Sonny Dunham told a group of first-grade students from the G. D. Cushing School Monday.

Classes took turns learning fire safety tips at the Wilton Public Safety Building in observance of Fire Prevention Week. 

The week is actually October 9 -15 this year but with the holiday Monday and the availability of nine firefighters who were able to help, the observance in Wilton took place early, Dunham said.

Some students had attended the annual training session sponsored by Wilton Fire and Rescue last year. They had heard it before but it is always good to review, he explained.

As Dunham asked what-should-you-do scenarios, children gave all the right answers. They knew how to stop, drop and roll and one demonstrated the movement.  She covered her eyes as Dunham warned them to protect the only set of eyes they will have.

Don’t play with matches, he told them.


Holding a smoke detector or “nose” as Dunham called it, he told the students what to do if it went off while they were sleeping.

“Get out of bed, get on your knees and crawl to the door,” he said. “Feel it with the back of your hand. If it is warm or hot, don’t open it. Go to the nearest window and stay there.”

Volunteer firefighters donned their full gear and crawled across the floor just as they would in a fire. Captain Robert Burdick warned the students to shout “here I am” in response to the firefighters’ calls.

The firefighters wanted the students to have the visual impression of what a firefighter dressed in gear weighing 60-75 pounds along with the sounds of the air tank would be. An image resembling Darth Vader, Dunham said as he warned the students to not hide during a fire.

With a fire fighter staged behind a side door, the two volunteers crawled and tapped their way to the door and tested for heat with the back of their hands before opening it.

Two students tried calling 911 on a simulator run by Assistant Chief Kyle Ellis who also works as a dispatcher at Franklin County Regional Communications Center.


You need to know your name, first and last, and the address where you live, Dunham told Madisyn LaPlant before she called.  You also need to answer him instead of shaking your head in response. The dispatcher is in Farmington, he can’t see you, he said.

Dunham plans to go into the school within the next couple weeks and let every student try using the 911 simulator. He also plans to bring a smoke trailer to the school, he said.

Dunham encouraged the youngsters and their family to have a designated meeting place in case of a fire.

“Go there and never go back in(to the house),” he said.

Let the firefighters get your pet or look for your family member, he said.

The students made their way through fire trucks and enjoyed milk and cookies baked by the wives of several firefighters.


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