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Clawson firefighters teach basics of fire safety to students

Firefighters teach concepts like 'stop, drop and roll,' 'crawling below smoke'

CLAWSON, Mich. – The men and women of our nation's fire service risk their lives every day fighting fires. But what happens when the everyday super hero suits up?

"Kids are sometimes afraid of that, aren't they?" asked Mitch Albom.

"They are, so we go to the schools and we have our firefighters stand in front of them and we put their turnout gear on one piece at a time so they can see them transform," said Assistant Fire Chief Troy Engel, of the Clawson Fire Department.

"And why is that important?" Albom asked.

"Because if they ever get stuck in a house fire, they're going to be terrified," Engel said. "If they are afraid of the fireman, they are going to try to hide under their beds or in a closet."

A danger that is all too common an occurrence.

"You can't see anything in a real fire," said Engel. "Time is everything in fire service, so if you got a kid hiding from you and you have to find them, that could be life or death."

From "stop, drop and roll" to crawling below the smoke, Engel and the firefighters from the Clawson Fire Department are teaching the basics of fire safety. Even the Boy Scouts are getting in on the action.

"Any of the kids ever talk about becoming a firefighter like you?" asked Albom.

"Yeah, some of them do. It's neat to teach them from when they're first graders, you know, right up until when they are in high school," said Engel.

"One day they may be on the truck with you," Albom said to Engel.

"You know, I have actually been doing this long enough that that's already happened to me," Engel said. "I've got some younger that I taught fire prevention to that are now on the department with me. You got to teach them so they will pass it on to the next generation."

Fanning the flames of knowledge, Engel is extinguishing the fear of today's youth in the heart of Detroit.

Heart of Detroit