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Kids Learn Fire Safety During Demonstration in Wathena

Firefighter Bob Ryser shows these kindergartners what he looks like with his mask and helmet on.
(WATHENA, Kan.) Their teachers encourage the youngest at the school to yell what they've learned about fire safety.

Eagerly, about a dozen kindergarteners yell "9-1-1" in unison.  Cries of "stop, drop and roll" are also heard.

The Wathena Fire Department is at Riverside Elementary, teaching these kids the basics of fire safety, as they've done for at least the last 25 years.

"We enjoy doing it," said long-time firefighter Bob Ryser.  "The kids like having us up here.  We certainly enjoy trying to get the message out so they learn things from it."

And even though the message is simple, geared towards the growing minds of kindergarteners or first graders, they really do remember what they're being taught.

"We start out with Pre-Kindergarten kids and we do it every year," Ryser said.  "By the time they're first and second graders they can remember the basic things like that."

Riverside's elementary principal, Tiffany Burnes, looks on with approval as the firefighters talk about the basics with the youngsters.

They're picking it up quite well.

"When it comes up that there's a fire, they've already had that conversation with their teachers and their parents.  They practice what to do in case of an emergency," Burnes said.

At one point, Ryser throws on his heavy coat, helmet, and oxygen mask.

One child says he looks like an alien.

But despite the scary appearance he tells them he's one of the good guys.

"We just want everyone to be safe," Ryser said.  "We try to tell them that they need to be out.  If something needs to be saved, or if a pet needs to be saved, we are the ones that need to go back in and get that for them."

It all ends with everyone's favorite part: the chance to use the fire hoses.

And every child gets a chance to squirt water high in the sky.

It's a bit of fun to go along with some very important lessons.

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