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NAPLES, Italy — Naval Support Activity Naples has taken fire safety and prevention way past stop, drop and roll.

The station’s fire department recently purchased a fire-safety trailer that allows children to experience the steps needed to escape from a house fire.

Sixteen girls from Naples Brownie Troop 19 were among the first children to go through the $25,000 trailer Thursday at the Gricignano housing area fire department.

“This helps teach them something to take home with them,” said Mark Weil, Naples’ chief fire inspector, as the first group of eight girls entered the trailer.

Inside, the trailer looks similar to a very small house, complete with props — a sink, stove, bed and windows.

The first- to third-graders watched a “Sparky the Fire Dog” video and learned about stove safety tips. Then, four at a time with chaperones in tow, they went into the bedroom.

Sitting on the bed they were again told about the proper way to exit a smoke-filled bedroom. As they sat there, a cloud of smoke began to fill the room.

With more excitement than fear, the girls all went to their hands and knees and moved to the bedroom door to feel for heat.

In a real fire, if a door’s warm to the touch, there’s a good chance that there’s fire on the other side of it. In the trailer, heating elements in the door warmed it.

Finding the door hot, the girls turned around and climbed out of the bedroom window with the help of firefighters Pasquale Lanzillo and Petty Officer 1st Class David Burke.

Inside the nearby firehouse, the girls said that the training was fun but definitely not scary.

It may have been fun, but it does work, according to the National Fire Protection Association. At least one Navy base’s trailer has already helped to save lives.

Children in Colts Neck, N.J., went through a similar trailer belonging to the Naval Weapons Station Earle, N.J., fire department. Two weeks later, two of those children used what they learned to escape after an out-of-control grease fire filled the house with smoke.

Danyeld Barnett watched as her 6-year-old daughter, Na’kiya, climbed from the bedroom window.

“I think it’s good for kids,” she said about the training. “It’s better that it’s hands-on. I think all kids on base should participate in something like this.”

Burke said the base firemen not only will take base children through the trailer at the fire department, but can tow the trailer to schools or other bases, if requested.

He said there are plans to take the trailer to the base’s July 4th party at the Carney Park recreation facility.


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