Jun. 21—RICHARDTON, N.D. — On Tuesday morning, two volunteer firefighters and Richardton-Taylor Ambulance Service EMT Teena McCoy hosted a fire safety seminar for area children. After watching a 7-minute video and reviewing what they learned, the kids ventured outside to use a fire hose, hop inside the truck and even turn the sirens on.
Richardton mom Tory Dassinger said they helped her son Jack overcome some of his fears during a previous fire demonstration. Dassinger said that during this most recent fire safety training a paramedic helped ease her son's fear by telling her son, "Don't get scared, be prepared."
"They've helped him think of it more as a learning activity rather than something to be scared of, which I think is important," Dassinger said. "And it's really set to their ages. My other son Finley, he's only 4, but I feel like he still gets something out of it."
She said she's grateful for these events and what local first responders, most of whom are volunteers, have done for Richardton.
"I think it's good for our community... In Dickinson and Bismarck, I feel like they have more of these opportunities; but since we're such a small community, we don't always get them," she said. "They've done an excellent job of getting a lot of different resources out here for them."
In a Facebook post, the ambulance service also reminded parents of the proper technique for using a fire extinguisher. After grabbing it off the wall, they advise to pull the pin, aim for the base of the fire, squeeze the trigger and sweep from side to side.
Richardton volunteer firefighter Zach Schuchard offered additional tips on how residents can mitigate fire risks.
"Make sure you have smoke detectors and check them. Carbon monoxide detectors are good too... Have a fire extinguisher that's rated for the location of the house. There's different levels, so make sure you check that it's certified for that area," Schuchard said. "Have a plan of how you're going to get out of the house. Know your escape route and go over it with your family."
Regarding outdoor blazes, Schuchard said fortunately there is a reduced risk of grass and brush fires compared to the typical Western Edge summers as a result of elevated levels of precipitation over recent months.
"If you look around the landscape everything's pretty green, which helps a lot," he said. "There is some potential because there could be some drier undergrowth and dead stuff from last year — deadfall trees, brush and such. But for the most part we're pretty safe because of the amount of rain that we've gotten and how green things are right now."
Safety Tuesdays are 9:30 a.m. weekly for the duration of summer vacation at the Richardton-Taylor Ambulance building, located at 112 Main St. N. in Richardton. Last week's topic was "Stranger Danger," led by Stark County Chief Deputy Ray Kaylor. Other past seminars have included seat belt, medication and water safety.
McCoy explained the program was started about four years ago by Richardton-Taylor Ambulance Service volunteer Audrey Kuntz.
"She really put a lot of heart and soul into this," McCoy said. "I'm filling in for her this summer but she did all of that strictly as a volunteer."