Students learn to stay cool in a fire

News Photos by Julie Goldberg Firefighters Chris Villarreal, left, and Bryce Hagleud show Wilson Elementary School students different equipment on a fire truck during a visit to the school on Thursday.

WILSON TOWNSHIP — The Wilson, Green, and Long Rapids township fire departments visited Wilson Elementary School on Thursday to teach students about fire safety for Fire Prevention Week.

Wilson Township Fire Captain Tony Parris said the departments visit Wilson every year to tell the students the dos and don’ts during a fire.

“We like to educate the kids, because, eventually, they’re going to have families of their own and they’ve got to know what to do and, even growing up, how to react to an emergency situation,” Parris said.

Wilson Principal Lisa Hilberg said the students are excited when the firefighters visit because they admire them and are role models to the students.

“They really look forward to this day coming and they talk about it quite a while after the firefighters leave,” Hilberg said. “To see things they’ve learned in school, but to actually meet the firefighters and see that even as an occupation that they could go into or just to have the role models to look up to is pretty neat.”

Parris said talking to the students helps them be alert of what to do when there’s a fire.

“We want them to not be afraid,” Wilson Township Assistant Chief Steve Barber said. “We want them to recognize us, even in our gear. We want to help them.”

Firefighters Bryce Hagleud and Chris Villarreal showed the students the fire trucks and all the equipment they use. The students enjoyed seeing the trucks and seeing the firefighters in their uniforms. Students asked the firefighters about the uniforms they have to wear and what’s on a fire truck.

“They got to go out and touch the equipment and use some of the devices,” Hilberg said. “They’re pretty excited.”

The firefighters gave the students coloring books, fire hats, pencils, and stickers to take home.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at or 989-358-5688.