SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The pandemic caused a lot of events and activities to transition to virtual platforms.
Sioux Falls Fire Rescue got creative when the pandemic hit, taking their fire education program virtual.
“We weren’t allowed to get into the classrooms. So we’ve got a virtual program now. So we sit down with the kids virtually, they watch a short program and then we interact with the kids. We answer questions, they ask us questions,” Sioux Falls Fire Rescue fire inspector Tyler Tjeerdsma said.
First through 4th graders across KELOLAND participated in the program that covered topics including escape plans all the way to how to call 9-1-1.
And the takeaway has been great.
One of the reasons this program resonates with kids so much is because of people like Blaze and firefighter Frank.
After looking at statistics of how and where kids are most often getting hurt, Frank and Blaze have been able to help tailor the program to the topics that matter most.
“They take this material home, they talk to their other siblings. They talk to their parents. Especially with like the smoke alarms. You know, we tell them, go home, make sure you have a smoke alarm in your room, make sure you know how to open your window,” Tjeerdsma said.
With a successful launch during the pandemic, the program now has plans to expand into surrounding communities.
“It has become really successful. We’ve got other surrounding communities reaching out to us, wanting to use our content, and we’re going to expand it throughout the state of South Dakota eventually once we get some more programs made,” Tjeerdsma said.
Families can access the content in more detail on Sioux Falls Fire Rescue’s video tab on their Facebook page, here.