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Milwaukee students get a hands-on lesson in fire safety

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MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Fire Department and Milwaukee Public Schools have teamed up to teach kids fire safety through the Survive Alive House. Kids got a hands-on lesson in fire safety on Monday, January 7th.

"We learned how to be safe when the house is on fire and come out quickly and safely," fifth-grader Brandon Thompson said.

Using the Survive Alive house, firefighters show the kids what to do in a fire emergency and then put their skills to the test.

"More people die from smoke inhalation than from the fire itself. If you`re in your home and you have a fire you want to stay low. Stay low and go," Lt. Christopher Mancuso with the Milwaukee Fire Department said.

Since many fires happen at night, students are placed in a room of a mock house.

As smoke comes out of the vents, they are told to stay near the ground where the oxygen levels and visibility is better.

They exercise caution before opening the door.

"It`s important to check the door with the back of your hand because that`s the most sensitive part of your hand and you`ll pull it away faster. It makes sure that you`re not opening a door that has fire or smoke behind it," Acting Lt. Christopher Gauthier said.

The children learned that the first person outside calls 911.

The Milwaukee Fire Department and Milwaukee Public School District have teamed up to teach kids fire safety through the Survive Alive House.

Before coming face-to-face with fire, children learned that it is important to establish escape plans.

"Part of the escape plan is to have a meeting place, a fixed object, a light pole, a mailbox, neighbor's house, somewhere everybody`s going to go so that you can account for your entire family," Acting Lt. Gauthier said.

Many of the students said they plan to talk to their mom and dad about what they learned.

"I`m going to tell my parents to make an escape plan so we can set up our safety spot," fifth-grader Masiyah Smith said.

It's that conversation that could save the lives of an entire family.

Firefighters say the first line of defense in a house fire is a working smoke alarm. Beginning in June, Milwaukee residents will need to begin using smoke alarms with a 10-year sealed lithium-ion battery.

There is a five-year grace period for people to make the switch.

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