It's National Fire Prevention Week across the nation. In Neosho, members of the Neosho Fire Department visited each elementary school to present an assembly on fire safety and prevention.

It's National Fire Prevention Week across the nation. In Neosho, members of the Neosho Fire Department visited each elementary school to present an assembly on fire safety and prevention.
"The most important thing for kids to take away from the assembly today is preparation," Neosho Fire Battalion Chief Adrian Hitchcock said after the assembly at George Washington Carver Elementary School on Wednesday.
Hitchcock, in company with several fellow members of the Neosho Fire Department, visited each of the schools. They brought along both a classic bright red fire engine and a fire rescue vehicle, which students went outside to view up close.
"We go to all the schools in Neosho," Hitchcock told the students. "We put out fires. We want you to be safe."
Hitchcock demonstrated smoke alarms to the kids, demonstrating both a standard version and a smoke alarm that speaks, providing directions on what action should be taken. He urged the students to take the information they learned during the assembly home to share with their families.
"It's very important to go home and talk to mom and dad," Hitchcock told the students. "Share with the what you've learned about fire safety, smoke detectors, planning an escape route and having a meeting place."
National Fire Prevention Week is an annual event and has been observed during the second week of October since 1925, when President Calvin Coolidge established it. Efforts to observe a national fire safety week began in 1911, forty years after the Great Chicago Fire and The Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin. Both fires occured on October 8, 1871. 250 people lost their lives in Chicago and another 1,152 died in Wisconsin. Sixteen towns were destroyed in Peshtigo and over 100,00 people were left homeless in Chicago. National Fire Prevention Week has been observed since and generations of school children remember having the programs at school.
This year's theme is "Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out" and Hitchcock urged students to not only plan an escape route at home but to locate two ways out.
One of the highlights of the assembly featured fireman Brandon Burns donning full firefighter gear to show students what they wear when they respond to a fire call. Another factor to demonstrate the full uniform and gear was to educate students so they won't be frightened if they are ever in a fire situation and encounter a firefighter. "We don't want you to be afraid," Hitchcock said. "We don't want you to hide from us."
Hitchcock also fielded questions and chose a student at each assembly to demonstrate Stop, Drop, and Roll, the correct action if clothing catches fire.
"I love my job," Hitchcock told the kids. "My dad was a battalion chief for 33 years. When I was fifteen, I decided this is what I wanted to do."
Hitchcock has been a fireman for eighteen years, sixteen of those in Neosho. He has presented the annual Fire Prevention Week assemblies for at least ten of those years.
"In sixteen years (here) how many school fires do you think I've covered?" Hitchcock asked students, who called out various guesses. Hitchcock responded by saying, "None. How many hot fires have I covered? Many."
Students watched a short video titled, "It's Good To Know About Fire Safety" that shared catchy phrases to help kids remember safety procedures that included "get low and go" and "don't hide - go outside."
Hitchcock's message of preparation and prevention highlighted the need for fire awareness. He also encouraged students to know three things if they should need to call 911: city, address, and phone number. Students were also asked to remind their families to change their smoke alarm batteries once a year, when Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 5th and to test smoke alarms each month. "Go home and count the smoke alarms in your homes," Hitchcock told students suggesting one per room,
Carver Elementary third grader Rhett Wilson was also recognized at the assembly. After an art contest held district wide for third grade student, Wilson's design was chosen as this year's winner and has been reproduced onto t-shirts. A separate story about Wilson is also in today's Neosho Daily News.
Fire Prevention Week 2017 marks more than 90 years of observance, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record.