Giant dog: A tool to prevent fires

Sparky the dog inspires attention to fire safety

From singing hydrants, to four-legged friends on wheels, the Quincy Fire Department is turning to fun tools like these to educate your kids on fire safety.

National Fire Prevention Month is just around the corner in October. In conjunction with that designation, Quincy firefighters take their message of fire prevention and preparation into all 3rd and 5th grade classrooms in the city.

Firefighters use a life-sized dog costume named Sparky, a dog behind the wheel of a remote-controlled fire engine and a giant, moving fire hydrant as props to teach safety to children.

Click here to meet Sparky the Fire Dog on KHQA This Morning.

"It's really hard to keep a young child's attention," firefighter Jerry Mast said. "These are things to try to get them on the same page as us. When you bring Sparky out, they fall in love with him. They come up and give him a hug. That really opens up those lines of conversation so I can teach them something."

Thanks to these furry friends, kids learn the importance of smoke detectors, staying away from matches and lighters as well as how to escape a burning home.

Firefighters help kids put those escape plans into action here at the Quincy Fire Department's safety house.

"Chaos really makes you forget everything you are told," Mast said. "But if you can go through something and get that muscle memory going, it helps you to follow those steps that you were taught."

Not only should everyone have a fire escape plan, but they should practice that plan. That includes showing your children how to open their windows and remove their screens.

Click here to watch how to safely escape a burning home from KHQA This Morning.

"Just getting out of your house is step one," Mast said. "Step two is going to your family meeting place. If everyone goes to the same place then they'll know everyone is safe and hopefully when we get there we only have to worry about fighting a fire."

Firefighters urge you to change the batteries in your smoke detectors two times a year during the time change. Mark your calendars to set your clocks back and swap out your batteries on November 3.