Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – The Paine Branch Library on Nichols Ave had a special visitor for storytime this week, and the visitor wasn’t even telling a story. Lieutenant Tamica Barnett of the Syracuse Fire Department joined the children to help educate them about fire safety.
Lt. Barnett, a 13 year veteran of the SFD, taught the kids the very basics of fire safety; when to call 911, if you should ever go back into a burning building, what to do when a smoke detector goes off, and stop-drop-and roll. While these may seem obvious to many, for younger children they might not recognize what to do.
“I think it is extremely important because there is so many things that people can do to save their lives and their family’s lives,” Barnett emphasized.
The work between the library and the SFD is just one of many community engagement opportunities undertaken by the Onondaga County Public Libraries. Each local branch offers different events that could be found by looking the OCPL’s community calendar.
Tom Walters, the OCPL communications director, said that a library is more than just about books.
“There’s a whole host of things that go on throughout the year that help kids learn how to be better citizens, how to read, and how to enjoy themselves,” he said.
The SFD is one of the busiest in the region, through September of this year they have responded to an average 31 calls a day. The current rate puts them on pace to be ahead of both 2021 and 2022. This is why when talking with older members of the community Lt. Barnett focuses on more than just fire safety, and instead fire prevention.
“With adult’s it’s more about preventative because most fires are incidental and could have been prevented. So when we talk to adults we talk about taking the steps to prevent a fire from occurring,” Barnett said.
Lt. Barnett also got into her full firefighting suit so kids could see what a firefighter looks like in full. This is something that she said could be scary for a child to see, especially if there is a fire going on. One child did cry after she showed that to them. At the end of the day kids were given coloring books to help reinforce what was taught to them.
As for one final fire safety tip she shared for anyone of all ages was to call 911 no matter what, even if they had doubts about whether they needed the fire department’s help.
“Get out and call 911. A lot of adults try to fight a fire, but the truth is fire doubles in size every minute. The longer you stay and try to fight the fire it just delays us getting there,” Barnett explained.