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Lassen National Forest Brings Fire Safety to Schools

”Smokey’s friends don’t play with matches or lighters.” That was the core message Smokey Bear and several of his helpers shared with more than 500 local kindergarten and first grade students throughout the month of February.

The multi-agency team of instructors, led by Fire Prevention Officer David Sandborg, includes employees of the Lassen and Plumas National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, and CalFire.

The group visited Johnstonville, McKinley, Richmond, Shaffer, and Janesville schools to spread fire safety messages, including:

• If you find matches or lighters, give them to an adult – like a parent, a teacher, or a bus driver

• If you see other kids playing with matches, take them away nicely or tell an adult

• If your clothes are on fire: STOP, DROP, ROLL, and COVER YOUR FACE with your hands

• If your house is on fire, get outside and stay outside, and meet at your family safety area meeting place

• Call 911 for fire and other emergencies


Smokey Bear and Dave Sandborg teach fire safety to Janesville School kindergartners ~ Photo by Esther Miranda-Cole


The 45-minute fire prevention program involves small-group instruction, a narrated slide show with lots of pictures of Smokey and his animal friends and human helpers, and the use of repetition and Q & A throughout the presentation to reinforce concepts.

No fire prevention message would be complete without an appearance from Smokey Bear, who obliged by popping in for a surprise visit!

Sandborg began teaching the program on the Lassen in 2009. Taught in advance of Fire Prevention Month, which occurs in April, the program also provides teachers with materials so that they can continue to share the fire safety message with students and their families. For more information about the program, please contact Sandborg at 530-252-5856.

Lassen NF's Fernando Estrada and Matt Weston teach fire safety at Janesville School ~ Photo by Esther Miranda-Cole
Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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