Deer Ridge Elementary Plays Host to WOWO's Annual Fire Drill

By Scott Sarvay
By Stephanie Parkinson

October 10, 2012 Updated Nov 26, 2013 at 12:17 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Students at one local elementary school got to participate in a long-standing Fort Wayne tradition Wednesday morning.

The 66th annual "WOWO City-Wide Fire Drill" is timed to coincide with National Fire Prevention Week.

Deer Ridge Elementary served as the official host for this year’s event, where students participated in a full fire simulation with non-toxic smoke and strobe lighting.

Madison Roush, a third grader at Deer Ridge, was chosen to pull the fire alarm for the drill.

At the same time, other schools heard WOWO's coverage over school p.a. systems.

Mark Clause with the Fort Wayne Fire Department says, “If they're just doing their regular drill and don't ever do something like this with the fake smoke and the fake fire then they don't really get the true concept of what they need to do so when they do see it at least it goes to their minds that hey, we've got to get ourselves away from it and get out our closest exit.”

And to keep the simulation as real as possible, Fort Wayne Firefighters used the same fire fighting tactics that they'd use fighting a real fire.

This event is focused on teaching children to be prepared in case of a fire. However, with it being National Fire Prevention Week the Fort Wayne Fire Department wants to remind everyone of the things they can do to keep themselves safe. Assistant Fire Chief Jim Murua says things have changed over the years.

"For many, many years people have just bought a ionization type smoke detector, which has been very good for us," said Asst. Fire Chief Jim Murua, Fort Wayne Fire Department.

Newer fire alarms still detect smoke that same way but also include photoelectric technology, known to be better at detecting fires that start by smoldering.

"If something starts to smolder, a couch that has fire retardant material, can sit there and burn for quite a while before it takes off," said Murua.

Murua says the newer fire alarms will help detect both fast and slow burning fires. Murua also suggests knowing more than one way out of your home. He says if you sleep on a second story or live in an apartment building that it's a good idea to have a fire escape ladder nearby.

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