Dickinson Fire Department imparts important fire safety lessons

It's fire prevention week and firefighters visited all six elementary schools in Dickinson to teach children prevention safety tips as cold weather creeps closer.

Berg fire safety
Senior Firefighter Alaynea Decker, who's been with the Dickinson Fire Department for 8 years, shows students the tools she uses to break down doors and rescue victims.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — Smokey the Bear says that "only you can stop forest fires," but Berg the Bulldog says that you can help prevent house fires too. All throughout the city this week, Trinity Catholic and Dickinson Public School students have been learning about fire safety.

Thursday afternoon Dickinson Firefighters Alaynea Decker and Mitch Baesler hosted several 15 minute safety sessions with various Berg Elementary School classes, showing them different components of a firetruck and much more.

Jaws of life
Alaynea Decker shows the hydraulic extrication rescue tool, known as the jaws of life, that she uses to pull mangled cars apart and save car crash victims.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

“You guys know to call 9-1-1 if there’s a fire right? Should you call that number if you want to get a pizza?” Decker asked.

“Nooo!” the first graders laughingly responded.

She showed students a chainsaw, which is utilized to cut sections off of roofs of burning homes in order release smoke, she taught them the history of fire units in ancient Rome that used buckets to squelch blazes.


“The first fire brigade in the United States was established before the colonies became independent. It was started by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia,” Baesler told the students.

Decker, speaking to The Press, said promulgating to children the necessity of things like having a safe meeting place in case of a fire or other emergency makes a difference and potentially saves lives.

Fire Safety
Berg Elementary School first graders examine a fire truck on Thursday afternoon.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

“I think it’s important to teach them young so you can really instill some good habits in them with fire safety,” Decker said. “Every year we come and they sure remember everything we’ve taught them.”

She added that its often the adults in the community that forget the basics of fire prevention, explaining that smoke detectors should be tested periodically and the batteries replaced at least every 10 years. All homes should have a fire extinguisher — ideally in the kitchen.

According to FEMA, cooking remains the leading cause, or 51%, of fires in residential buildings from 2017 to 2019. The majority of these fires occurring between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., or at peak cooking hours.

For more information on burn restrictions, fire prevention week, safety and inspections, visit The Dickinson Fire Department is actively seeking to hire a fire fighter. To learn more about the position and its responsibilities, or to apply, visit

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Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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