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Trail gets visit from Fire Rescue

Red Ribbon09MICCOSUKEE — A firefighter in full gear signifies help has arrived to an emergency. But to small children, that same firefighter with unfamiliar clothing, an oversized hard hat, a tank and a face mask making loud breathing noises can be very frightening.

As a way to allay fears and prepare them for what they may see in an emergency, Seminole Tribe Fire Rescue showed Trail students at the Miccosukee Indian School how a firefighter dons the heavy gear and becomes unrecognizable. The demonstration, which also included a lesson about avoiding poisons, drugs and alcohol, was part of the school’s Red Ribbon activities from Dec. 17-19.

“Kids are scared when they see a firefighter in full turnout or bunker gear,” Fire Marshal Robert Brown said. “We put the gear on in front of them so they can see a familiar person become an unfamiliar one. They will know what a firefighter will look like if one ever needs to come into their house.”

Assistant Fire Marshal Bruce Britton gave a comprehensive program on poison.

Using a PowerPoint presentation with numerous photos, he taught students that poisons include cleaning supplies, medications in the medicine cabinet, cigarettes and alcohol. The program is based on the National Fire Protection Association’s Risk Watch program, an injury prevention program for students that gives them the skills and knowledge to stay safe.

“Who knows what these are?” Britton asked the students while showing a photo of bottles of pills in a medicine cabinet. “Who should you get medicine from?”

Hands went up immediately in the group of kindergarten through second-graders. They knew only to accept medication from a parent, grandparent, doctor or nurse.

Other photos and lessons included photos of people suffering from years of cigarette smoking and drug abuse and what healthy lungs and livers look like compared with those after years of abuse. Britton advised them to stay away from those substances.

“Even if someone in your family smokes or drinks, I want you not to,” he said.

Britton is a highly decorated veteran of Seminole Tribe Fire Rescue. This year he was awarded the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Broward County Public Educator of the Year, the Florida Fire Marshal Association’s Life Safety Educator of the Year and the Florida Emergency Medical Services Safety Educator of the Year.

When the presentation was complete, the students had a tour of a Fire Rescue vehicle.

Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at