In the News: Program teaches Bogota kids the importance of fire safety

As seen on NorthJersey.com – By Cheryl O’Brien – Bogota Bulletin

Bergen County Juvenile Fire Prevention

BERNADETTE MARCINIAK/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER NORTHJERSEY.COM –
Saddle Brook Firefighter Joseph Schilp, who has been a volunteer firefighter for 44 years, spoke to the children about the dangers of fire, smoke and carbon monoxide, fire drills, fire extinguishers, and fire safety tips, among other topics.

Kids’ Safety Awareness Program (KSAP), in partnership with CarePlus New Jersey and the Bergen County Juvenile Fire Prevention Program (BCJFPP), a program offered by CarePlus, sponsored a presentation on fire safety for children and their parents at the Bogota Recreation Center on April 9.

The program was hosted by Jim Moore, director of the Bogota Recreation Center, and introduced by Genesis Liu, founder and president of KSAP.

The guest speaker for the day was Joseph Schilp, fire safety educator for BCJFPP and volunteer firefighter for the township of Saddle Brook. Schilp, who has been a volunteer firefighter for 44 years, spoke to the children about the dangers of fire, smoke and carbon monoxide, fire drills, fire extinguishers, and fire safety tips, among other topics. Schilp also brought in his fireman’s uniform and mask to show the children.

Liu said the children enjoyed learning how fires start and how to keep themselves safe, and their favorite part of the program was when the “walkie-talkie went off with a situation; they’ve never been that close to a beeper before coming from a fireman.”

Also in attendance was CarePlus Program Manager Teresa Martino-Woods who runs BCJFPP and works with children up to the age of eighteen who display signs of a proclivity for fire or fire setting.

Liu asked Martino-Woods to explain steps parents can take to help children stay away from fire. Martino-Woods said anyone can enter the program by meeting with her and having a discussion, to which she makes a recommendation; typically, the recommendation includes a meeting with one of the program’s fire safety educators to receive information.

Martino-Woods stressed the importance of speaking up if a child witnesses a peer involved in a potentially dangerous situation regarding fire, and said “Tell a teacher or parent. We want to make sure you’re safe and the people who you are with are safe.”

“If you see something, say something,” added Liu.

“Programs like this help children and parents understand the importance of safety and community service,” Liu wrote in an email. “Safety and community service works hand in hand. It is our KSAP belief that when children are involved in their communities at a young age, and when they understand the important jobs of our local safety leaders (police officers, fireman, rescue squads) and local community leaders, it teaches them how to keep themselves safe by exercising awareness, respect, responsibility and self-esteem with the help of their parents and trusted adults who create good parent teams of positive role models that builds trust.”

According to Liu, KSAP safety classes and seminars are instructed when school is not in session and also upon request on half days during the school year. Community service outings usually occur once per month.

KSAP is a non-profit corporation based in Hackensack whose mission is to teach children the importance of safety, education and community service. CarePlus, also a non-profit, provides comprehensive, recovery-focused integrated primary and mental health care and substance abuse rehabilitation services for adults and children. BCJFPP provides information regarding the concerns of the residents of Bergen County with respect to the needs of juvenile fire setters and their families.

The next KSAP class will be held in June for middle and high school students; topics will be drug prevention and peer pressure.

Thanks to the Bogota Bulletin and NorthJersey.com for their coverage of this important program.