Smokey Bear’s Match Safety Program Teaches Fire Safety at Area Schools

Release Date: Apr 5, 2011  

Contact(s): Esther Miranda-Cole

Photo: Smokey Bear and Dave Sandborg visit with students at McKinley School.

Susanville, Calif….During the month of March, some 650 local kindergarten and first grade students got to learn about match and lighter safety from Smokey Bear and several of his helpers, which included employees of the Lassen and Plumas National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, and CalFire. The group visited McKinley, Richmond, Johnstonville, Janesville, and Shaffer schools. Led by Fire Prevention Officer Dave Sandborg, Smokey’s helpers taught students the iconic bear’s #1 safety rule - “Never play with matches or lighters.”

The children learned what to do if they find matches or lighters or see others playing with them, how to respond in the event of a fire at home, and how to react if their clothes are on fire. Sandborg narrated a slide show with pictures of Smokey, his animal friends, and their home in the forest. The show demonstrated how wildfires are fought and the potential devastation. Best of all, to the delight of students, Smokey Bear popped in for a surprise visit! That was the kids’ favorite part - generating lots of applause, smiles, and hugs for Smokey!

Sandborg began teaching the program on the Lassen in 2009. Taught in advance of Fire Prevention Month, which occurs in April, the program also provides teachers with materials so that they can continue to share the fire safety message with students and their families. For more information about the program, please contact Dave Sandborg at 530-252-5856.