By Alice Hunt Poughkeepsie Journal

BRINCKERHOFF - Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, and members of the Rombout Fire District want to make sure the children in their area know what to do if confronted with either one.

In honor of Fire Prevention Safety Week, members of the fire department visited Brinckerhoff Elementary School Tuesday morning to discuss fire safety. As part of the visit, fifth-grade students took a tour of the Rombout Fire District’s “smoke house,” a trailer that uses a non-toxic smoke simulator to show children what a room filled with smoke would look like, and to offer practice of how an escape route might be used.

As the trailer filled with the “smoke,” the children fell to the ground and crawled to the opposite side of the house for safety.

The younger children were given a tour of one of the department’s fire engines, and discussed fire safety with Rombout fire commissioner and firefighter Sharon Forbes.

“We really want to instill that they need to have two ways out of each room of the house,” Forbes said.

Kids told never to re-enter burning site

In her presentation, Forbes also stressed the importance of staying out of the home.

“You should never, ever, ever re-enter a burning building,” she told the children.

Will Bowman said he learned a lot from the department’s visit.

“I learned if someone is deaf, there should be a fire alarm that has a flashing light,” the 9-year-old said.

The firefighters also wore their full uniforms and equipment for the children, including helmets and masks.

“With the smaller kids, we want to show them what we look like when we have all of our gear on, so they know not to be scared if we have to enter their house,” Acting Fire Capt. Kenny Schirmer explained.

Fourth-grader Juliana Nikac, 9, said she liked the presentation.

“It was really cool to see what they look like with their masks,” she said.

By teaching the children, the department ends up helping the community as a whole, firefighter John Webb said.

“A lot of the time the kids educate the parents,” he said. “They’ll go home and make sure their parents have and practice an escape route and check the smoke detectors.”

Reach Alice Hunt at or 845-437-4819

About Rombout

Rombout is an all volunteer fire company formed in 1971, and is named after the “ Rombout Patent ” which once covered most of the land in Dutchess County, NY. Rombout has about 50 active members, and many more exempt/associate members.

Rombout Fire Company protects the Rombout Fire District. Rombout is one of five fire departments or districts that protect the residents of the Town & Village of Fishkill, NY.

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