By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — If your house was on fire, have you thought about how you would get out?
What would you do if you were on the first floor? What if you were upstairs? Or what if you were in the basement?
When it comes to being prepared in the event of a fire, thinking about your escape route can make all the difference, said Joe Solberg, a firefighter with the Colfax Community Fire Department.
[emember_protected] Solberg handed out first, second and third place prizes in the Colfax Fire Department’s poster contest at Colfax Elementary on Thursday, January 25.
The theme selected this year for the poster contest by the National Fire Protection Association was “Every Second Counts, Plan 2 Ways Out.”
Although Fire Prevention Week was October 8 through October 14, the students worked on their posters just before the holiday break.
Solberg, along with other firefighters from the Colfax fire department, spoke to students at Colfax Elementary about fire prevention during Fire Prevention Week.
Solberg said the members of the fire department and Don Logslett, Colfax fire chief, wanted to make a concerted effort this year to have Colfax Elementary students participate in the poster contest.
“The chief said ‘make it happen,’ so now we’re planning to continue working with the school (for subsequent poster contests),” Solberg said.
The posters made by the first place winners will be sent to the state fire convention in Middleton for a chance to win the grand prize of $50.
Posters that are sent to the state convention will be returned either to the students who designed them or to the school, Solberg said.
Working on the posters just before the holiday break turned out well.
With family members visiting for the holidays, along with lighted Christmas trees and other decorations, not to mention space heaters when the weather is below zero, just before the holidays was a good time for the students to work on posters and to think more about fire prevention, Solberg said.
Over the years, fire prevention efforts have cut down on the number of structure fires.
In looking back through issues of the Colfax Messenger from 50 years ago or 65 years ago, house fires were more common both during the winter heating season and during summer thunderstorms when houses were struck by lightning.
Concerning fire prevention, there’s an old saying — “we’re trying to put ourselves out of business,” Solberg said.
When the pager goes off for a house fire, “you know you are going out on the worst day of someone’s life,” he said.
Students at Colfax Elementary in grades first through fifth were eligible to compete in the contest and had an opportunity to be selected for first, second and third place at each grade level.
First place winners received $15, second place received $10, and third place winners were awarded $5.
The following students received first, second and third place prizes:
First grade: Kendyl Acker (1st place); Ezra St. Aubin (2nd place); Bentley Prochnow (3rd place).
Second grade: Leah Walbrandt (1st place); Sydney Henricks (2nd place); Veronika Leavens (3rd place).
Third grade: Talen Stewart (1st place); Rachel Rose (2nd place); Austyn Pederson (3rd place).
Fourth grade: Jessa Rundle (1st place); Elizabeth Schmitt (2nd place); Olivia Steinbach (3rd place).
Fifth grade: Conner Berthiaume (1st place); Aubrey Rihn (2nd place); Brady Elmer (3rd place). [/emember_protected]