WESTFIELD TOWNSHIP – About 1,200 elementary school children at Cloverleaf were entertained while learning fire safety when firefighters from Indianapolis, Ind. dropped by Oct. 13.
At the invitation of the Westfield Fire and Rescue District, MC Axe and the Firecrew, a group of firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and nurses, accompanied by two safety dogs, Kasey and Kohl, black Labradors, brought their lively show to the area for the second year.
The performers, all active-duty firefighters with the Indianapolis Fire Department, volunteer on their days off to travel near and far to teach fire safety to children in a way that reaches kids through music, dance and comedy. MC Axe has been teaching and entertaining for 22 years, the current group being together for 10 years. They average nearly 400 shows a year, reaching about 400,000 kids in grades K-6. They estimated over 4 million kids have been reached and are credited with saving 15 lives over the years.
Eight of the regular 13 firefighters were at Clovereaf, guests of the Westfield department, who housed the team at Westfield Inn. MC Axe is managed by Hoosier Burn Camp. Their corporate sponsor, Koorsen Fire and Security, furnishes the group with a 42-foot tour bus and all the fuel needed as they travel to places such as South Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri, as well as Ohio and throughout their home state of Indiana.
The students quickly picked up on the safety songs they learned and shouted out the correct answer when asked what to do if their clothes caught on fire, “stop, drop and roll.” They eagerly raised their hands when asked who all fastens their seat belts in the car. They particularly enjoyed the well-behaved therapy dogs that responded properly to commands, but otherwise lay still while the fire crew sang and danced around them.
The children learned the importance of sleeping with their bedroom doors closed in case of fire during the night. They learned the first part of the body to go to sleep and the last to wake is the nose and if smoke came into their room, they might not wake to smell it. They also learned how important it is for the family to have a meeting place outside of the house in case of fire and to never go back into the house for any reason, not for a pet or a brother or sister – let the firefighters do that.
They learned that smoke rises, so to stay close to the floor, as demonstrated by Kasey and Kohl.
Ginny, a nurse who accompanies the team, said, “If they save one child’s life, it’s worth it.”
MC Axe and the Firecrew then headed back to their home in Indiana, a five and a half hour trip, where they were to report back to duty as firefighters and paramedics.
Lafayette, Seville, Lodi and Chatham fire departments also supported the visit.