The City of Asheville Fire Department gave serious messages a fun twist recently, bringing its Asheville PALS skits to City of Asheville elementary schools. Asheville PALS, which stands for Prevention and Life Safety, is a program developed by AFD that uses skits, clowns, puppets and kid-favorite Sparky the Fire Dog to convey fire and child safety lessons to kids.
“We wanted to create a fun way to interact with kids,” says AFD Public Information Officer Kelley Webb. “They get a kick out of the program and learn safety lessons as well. It’s a different way of reaching them.”
This is the fifth year for the Asheville PALS program, and firefighters who volunteered to clown around and appear in the show performed at Sand Hill-Venable, Johnston, Haw Creek, Jones and Vance Elementary Schools.
This year, the skit’s theme was “Playing in the Park,” and covered important child safety lessons like always wearing a bike helmet, being cautious of strangers and not playing with matches.
Webb, who played along with the clowns and puppets onstage, also highlighted the importance of smoke detectors in the home and having a family meeting place outside the house in case of a fire.
The Asheville Fire Department coordinates programs throughout the year to educate and interact with school students. Alongside the PALS presentation in the spring, the department also visited schools in October to offer smoke alarm and fire safety sessions. Students there were able to learn about fire trucks, participate in fire drills and use the department’s educational fire safety trailer to talk about fire safety in the home.