Belle Aire third grader gets special ride to school

Girl seated in front seat of fire truck

With sirens blaring, third-grade Belle Aire student Kyla Richardson was driven to school today (April 13) on a Downers Grove Fire Department fire truck as her classmates and the rest of the school cheered her arrival and chanted her name. 

Kyla, along with her teacher, Tara Fulton, first ate breakfast with the firefighters at the fire station, then went by truck to the school. 

Earlier in the morning, she and her teacher were picked up in front of her home in the fire truck driven by Firefighters Kris Nowak and Tyler Thiessen. Kyla won her trip by entering a contest sponsored by the  Fire Department as part of the Learn Not to Burn program.

As part of the program, students are asked to create a plan to escape their home in the event of a fire by practicing E.D.I.T.H. (Exit Drills In The Home). Students draw a diagram of the home and plan two ways out of every room. They make sure there is a working smoke alarm outside each sleeping area (and one in each bedroom), and the locations are included in the diagram. They make sure that everyone in the home can lock and unlock doors and windows, and they ensure that there is a safe way to exit the home if there are multiple levels. Fire Department Public Education Specialist Dale Smith began the program more than 20 years ago. In addition, firefighters provide education on fire safety, and they help students understand how to stay safe and safely exit the home in the event of a fire emergency.

The contest was open to all third grade students in the Learn Not to Burn program to encourage families to practice home fire drills. 

Other students in District 58 who won the contest and will be earning a ride to school on a fire truck are Nadia Bizior, Kingsley; Alyssa Furman, El Sierra; Samara Askar, Pierce Downer; and Stella Aitken, Fairmount.