Brad Price had a simple mission last week during National Fire Safety Week.

Brad Price had a simple mission last week during National Fire Safety Week.

The Gulf County Fire Coordinator wanted the first annual Fire Fest, held at each elementary school, to drive home two central points: smoke detectors save lives and stop-drop-roll.

The Fire Fest, the first of what Price hopes becomes an annual event to coincide with Fire Safety Month (October) and week, provided an introduction to the dangers of fire and steps to safety for elementary school children.

After a short video, the students were allowed to look over the equipment, shoot the fire hose for a few moments and generally get the experience of being junior firemen.

“They are just buzzing away,” Price said. “It’s a good deal. When you impress them like that, they take that home.

“The kids had a good time and took it home with them. We try to target the elementary students because they will take it home and bug their parents about it. We are trying to get the entire family to think about fire safety.”

The main lesson for home concerns smoke detectors, Price said. They should be checked once a month and batteries changed with the seasons, at least twice a year.

“That is the main thing we try to convey, smoke detectors save lives,” Price said. “If we can get that one thing through, we have accomplished something.”

The essential personal fire safety drill of stop, drop and roll should flames be singeing was also taught to the students, who also received packets of fire safety tips and prizes.

“Whatever we can do to get this out to the public, that’s what we want to do,” Price said. “If we can save one life, then it is worth it.”

Participating in the Fire Fest at Port St. Joe Elementary were the South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department, the Beaches Volunteer Fire Department, the Highland View Volunteer Fire Department and the Division of Forestry.

Participating in the first Fire Fest at Wewahitchka Elementary School were the Wewahitchka City Volunteer Fire Department, the Wetappo Creek Volunteer Fire Department, the Stone Mill Creek Volunteer Fire Department, the Division of Forestry and Tyndall AFB fire crews.