NEW YORK—Two thousand elementary school kids, wearing bright red plastic fireman hats, took over Rockefeller Plaza to take their oath as junior firefighters on Monday.
Amidst shining fire trucks and a team of tough firefighters from the New York Fire Department, the children from over 50 elementary schools learned about fire safety.
In the center of a crowd of kids, eight-year-old Nelson Estrella II said, “When there is a fire, and the door handle is hot, then you can’t go out there.”
Seven-year-old Emily Cruz added that New York firefighters should “keep on doing the right thing. Helping other people to get out.”
Both Nelson and Emily are from the Old South Elementary School in Queens.
Lieutenant Mancuso of the FDNY Safety Education Unit, who taught the young ambitious junior firefighters about fire prevention said, “We swear them in as junior firefighters … and also ask them to talk to their parents about fire safety, because oftentimes adults don’t even know what to do.”
The pinnacle of the day for the children was the rescue of FDNY Mascot, Hot Dog, from a roof by firefighters while thousands of children cheered.
The event marked the start of the annual National Fire Prevention Week. Fire prevention week was established 80 years ago to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, on October 8, 1971, which killed more than 250 people and left 100,000 homeless.