Tiffin Fire and Rescue Division has a message for elementary school children: "No ice is safe ice."
Mike Homan, a firefighter/paramedic for Tiffin Fire and Rescue Division, is delivering a water and ice safety program to Tiffin City Schools and Calvert Catholic Schools.
The program, which originated in Sandusky County, was created after Da'Vontae Everett, 8; Jay'Den Taylor-Everett, 7; and Rafael Villanueva, 10, died after falling into Sandusky River about two years ago.
It was developed in collaboration with Croghan Colonial Bank, Fremont City Schools, Lindsey Volunteer Fire Department, North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Rice Township trustees, Sandusky County commissioners, Sandusky County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Coast Guard and the Everett and Villanueva families.
The program was created to teach elementary students about the dangers of unsafe ice, according to information Homan provided.
The training and materials for the program were provided to Tiffin Fire and Rescue Division, and there is no cost for the department to provide the program, Homan said.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Caitlyn Melick, a Noble Elementary School fifth-grader, is dressed in an ice rescue suit with help from Mike Homan, a firefighter/paramedic for Tiffin Fire and Rescue Division, Thursday afternoon.
"It's been a good thing," he said.
It is the first year Tiffin Fire and Rescue Division is providing the program in schools. Homan said officials weren't sure how the program was going to go, but it has been well-received. He said he thinks the first year has gone well.
"We couldn't be happier," he said.
Tiffin Fire and Rescue Division can deliver the water and ice safety program to organizations. The department can be reached at (419) 448-5444.
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Homan talks to students about the importance of wearing life jackets, what they can do if someone falls through ice and what to do to get themselves out of water. He said he tries to get them to remember the saying, "No ice is safe ice."
He led presentations at Noble Elementary School Thursday afternoon.
Katie Hafer, a fourth-grade teacher, and Allen Auble, a fifth-grade teacher, were given four sets of nuts and bolts and were instructed to put them together without looking. The teachers then had to hold their hands in cold water for 45 seconds.
Auble said his hands were feeling numb.
"My heart is pounding," Hafer said.
At the end of the 45 seconds, they had to assemble the nuts and bolts underwater. It took both of them more time to complete the exercise with cold hands.
"Look how red (Hafer's) arms are," Homan said.
Earlier in the day, he said he had done a few presentations, and they had gone well.
"They've enjoyed it. ... The kids have been very involved," he said.