By Mari-Alice Jasper, Fort Campbell CourierNovember 22, 2017
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- A shining, red fire truck, blaring its sirens and alarms, pulled up to the front door at Barsanti Elementary School Nov. 17. The fire truck was there not to put out a fire, but to drop off a second-grade student, Erin Volz, while classmates, peers, teachers and staff stood outside and cheered for her.
Hitching a ride to school in the fire truck was part of Erin's reward for winning Fort Campbell's Fire Prevention Week poster contest. As the grand prize winner, she also received two trophies and a $100 gift card to the Exchange. National Fire Prevention Week, a public health observance dedicated to raising awareness about fire safety, was celebrated on the installation the second week of October.
This year's poster contest theme was "Every Second Counts, Plan 2 Ways Out." Wendy Leo, Fort Campbell fire inspector, said this theme reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan prepared in case of an emergency.
"In a fire, seconds count," Leo said. "Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy."
The poster contest was open to all elementary schools, grades first through fifth. Each school chose a top poster for each grade level. Each overall grade winner won a pizza party for his or her class. Then, one poster from each grade level across the installation, was entered in to the competition for the grand prize -- the gift card and fire truck ride.
Erin's poster featured herself and her older sister, Lynn Volz, 9, in their bedroom, climbing out of windows to escape a fire coming out from under their bedroom door. Fire is also coming from their closet. Erin said there are three ways for her and Lynn to escape their bedroom in case of a fire -- the bedroom door, the windows and the windows inside the closet.
Erin said she got the idea for a house fire in her bedroom because of what her father, Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Volz Jr., Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Campbell, taught her about fire safety.
"Fires usually start around a door because it is wood," she said. "My dad told me how sometimes with lights, if you are fixing them and you use normal tape you could cause a fire, but if it's electrical tape it won't let the electricity come out and cause a fire like regular tape."
To design her poster, Erin used different techniques. She primarily used colored pencils, cotton balls and water to make the fire jump off the page. Erin said her mother, Yunhee Volz, helped her master the artistry.
"The colored pencils that I used are special," she said. "When you add water to them on the paper they make everything look really real."
Erin and her parents worked together on the poster during the weekends. Lynn also designed a poster for the competition. Leo said the poster competition is a way to encourage parents to talk with their children about fire safety as a Family.
"We want Families to practice a home drill twice a year," Leo said. "Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can't help them."
Leo said Families should also ensure their house numbers are clearly visible from the road so emergency services personnel are able to find their home in the event of an emergency. Parents also should teach their children to close doors behind them as they leave a burning building because it may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
"Once you get outside, stay outside," Leo said. "Never go back inside a burning building."
Erin said although she has been in the front of a fire truck before, this was her first time getting to ride around in the truck. It also was her first time getting to climb around in the back.
"It was a lot of fun and I was really excited about riding in the truck to school," Erin said. "I got to push two of the buttons, but not all of them. I made the sirens go really loud and I made this other alarm go off too."
Erin said she was inspired to compete in the poster contest because she wanted to win the trophy and the pizza party for her class. Erin also has big plans for the gift card to the Exchange.
"I want to buy a pet Beta fish for our class with the gift card," she said. "I have a Beta fish at home and it's so pretty. I want our class to have one. I was going to bring my fish from home to school, but my mom said no."
Hugh McKinnon, Barsanti principal, said it felt amazing to have a student from his school win the installation wide poster contest.
"This was great for the school," McKinnon said. "I saw a lot of joy on the faces of students as we came out here to welcome Erin to school this morning. I'm pretty sure this is going to motivate the students so that next time there is a poster contest there will be a lot of participation."
Leo said Fort Campbell's Fire Department has been transporting students to school as a poster contest reward for many years.
"It is so heartwarming watching the children beam with excitement on the truck," Leo said. "It is something the [winner] will never forget. It is one of [the fire department's] best days.