• Elementary students are $1,000 winners in Charlotte Fire Department fire prevention contest

    By: Kevin Campbell

    Updated:

    Fires are scary, especially for children.  Some Hidden Valley Elementary students learned about the dangers of fires and created a video on what to do during an emergency. 

    For over 20 years, the Charlotte Fire Department and many local organizations have conducted the Fire Prevention Week Bulletin Board Contest. This year, the Fire Department celebrated Fire Prevention Month and allowed all Charlotte-Mecklenburg third grade students to participate in the annual bulletin board contest.

    Participants receive fire safety education, certificates and prizes. Winning schools receive cash awards for their schools. Over 3,000 students annually participate in this competition.

    It's important for them to know in case of an emergency, what they should do," said Gwen Johnston, Hidden Valley teacher. “I think through making the video, we were able to put it into action and they actually know what it feels like when that fire alarm, smoke alarm goes off.”                      

    Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.

    The fire began on Oct. 8, 1871, but continued into and did most of its damage on Oct. 9, 1871.  Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which Oct. 9 falls. 

    According to the National Archives, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte challenged third graders to create a bulletin board based on the national theme.

    This year, the theme was Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape. Each school had to create and construct a bulletin board based on the theme.      

    Hidden Valley Elementary School was the first-place winner, winning $1,000, traveling trophy, a plaque that will stay at the school, student and teacher prizes and a celebration party.

    Polo Ridge Elementary won second place and $750. Third place and a $500 prize went to Davidson Elementary.  Honorable mentions went to Smithfield Elementary and Bain Elementary, which each received $200. 

    WSOC-TV is a sponsor of the competition, and our Brittney Johnson was the awards host.  

    If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.  

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