The Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal likes to recognize school students through its annual poster contest, but the contest is not just about highlighting the artistic endeavors of Ohio youth.
It also allows the office to gauge effectiveness of the state education system’s efforts to promote fire safety, said Jesse Baughman, fire safety educator.
“I think they’re very effective,” Baughmann said during a March 4 visit to Brookfield schools.
The contest also transfers in-class instruction into action.
“It gives the kids an opportunity to get involved,” he said.
Two Brookfield students have brought home a lot of bling for their poster efforts. Alivia Sanford was an award winner in the kindergarten through third-grade age bracket, and Dilynn Turner won in grades four through six.
They received recognition from the school and the Brookfield Fallen Firefighters Foundation, which presented them Chromebook computers, and Baughmann brought along a certificate, a ribbon and a smoke detector for each student.
Brookfield Fire Department embraced the poster contest this year because it could not stage the traditional assembly in the elementary school where firefighters explain fire prevention concepts, show off some of their equipment and have a good time with the students, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Fire Chief David Masirovits.
If seems that many fire departments did not have the same idea. Baughmann said the number of entries was down this year from more than 100 to about 70. Baughmann blamed the decrease on the pandemic.
It’s unusual for one school to have more than one winner, but Baughmann noted that three schools this year each had two winners.
The fire marshal’s office has run the contest for 35 years.
Baughmann’s visit gave Masirovits a second chance to honor the winning students.
“Great work,” he told Dilynn and Alivia. “We’re very proud of you.”