You’re 6 years old and it’s a Wednesday morning. The air outside is crisp as you wait for the ride to school. Any normal day, a large yellow behemoth would round the corner before flashing its red lights allowing access.
Today is different. You can hear the honking of the horn, flashing lights — blues, reds and whites — fill your eyes. It’s a fire truck.
That’s the feeling Cortland kids, from pre-K through sixth grade, can feel if they create a poster.
For the fifth year, the Cortland City Fire Department will host its “Win A Ride On A Fire Truck” fire prevention poster contest. The theme this year goes with the Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!”
The theme works to educate the public about the importance of making a home escape plan and practicing it, the fire department said in a release. The fire department is working with the National Fire Protection Association to reinforce the message.
“Home escape planning is one of the most basic but fundamental elements of home fire safety, and can truly make the difference between life and death in a fire situation,” said Lorraine Carli, the association’s vice president of outreach and advocacy.
Entries for the poster contest are due Oct. 6 at the 21 Court St. station. There are four categories to enter based on grade level; pre-K to kindergarten; first grade to second grade; third grade to fourth grade; and fifth grade to sixth grade. One winner from each category will be selected at each city school.
Children are asked to create a poster with this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme — Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.
In support of Fire Prevention Week, city firefighters encourage all residents to develop a home-escape plan and practice it. A good plan includes working smoke alarms, two ways out of every room and a clear path to an outside meeting place a safe distance from the home.
Included on the back of the 8.5- by 11-inch poster should be the child’s name, grade, school, phone number and email.
Since the fire department has been doing the event, between 40 and 50 kids have won a trip to school in a fire truck, said Capt. David Jensen.
This year Fire Prevention Week will be from Oct. 8 to Oct. 14. The city fire department will also host an Open House on Oct. 7.
Jensen said kids are “sponges.” “If you give them positive fire prevention messages it’ll rub off on the parents,” he said.