The Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation makes a visit to Bowmar and Dana Road Elementary Schools

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Molly the Fire Safety Dog visited both Bowmar Elementary School and Dana Road Elementary School Monday morning to share with children how to be fire safe.

Firefighter Dayna Hilton, who started the nonprofit Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation, visits schools across the country with Molly sharing fire safety tips with children.

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“I’m just really passionate about keeping kids safe,” Hilton said.

Through campus visits and Skype sessions, the duo has made their presentation to 41 states and 18 countries.

“We do that at no cost,” Hilton said.

Earlier this month, Dana Road had the honor of being Molly’s first Skype session with a school in Mississippi. Monday was Molly’s first time to visit schools in the state.

“Today was wonderful. The two schools that we’ve been to in Vicksburg here, the kids were just incredible. I was really, really impressed with the number of children that have a plan and that know what to do in case of fire,” Hilton said.

Molly, who Hilton said could do 82 different tricks from helping with the laundry to playing the piano and basketball, held a Mississippi state flag in her mouth for her inaugural trip to the state. She then showed the students how to get down low and crawl out of a smoke filled room.

Hilton read from a book she wrote about a Fire Safety Dog named Sparkles. Through the book Sparkles gives children tips about fire safety.

“I started the foundation in honor of Sparkles,” said Hilton. “The foundation is caring on in Sparkles memory trying to help keep kids safe.”

The children were encouraged to ask the adults they live with to get smoke alarms and to test them once a month. The book taught the children that a smoke alarm indicates they should get out of the building, crawl low to the ground and to meet their family and friends at an outside meeting place.

It is important, Hilton said, for families to have meeting places outside the home at a tree or mailbox in the event of a fire so everyone can be accounted for, and she said families should have fire drills at home on the same days students have drills at school.

“For children in this age group, it’s very important for them to learn about fire safety because they’re one of the highest groups at risk for fire fatalities,” said Tammy Peavy, fire safety educator for the state fire marshal’s office.  “Mississippi has the highest fire death rate in the nation. Its very important for us to reach these students to take the messages home to their parents and for the parents to listen to their students to put those things in place that they learned here today.”

Hilton taught the students a fire safety song and then had them take the pledge to become junior firefighters.

“I promise to practice fire safety everyday,” Hilton had the students repeat after her with their right hands in the air. “Congratulations! You’re all junior firefighters.”

In addition to fire safety, Hilton also gave the students a little history lesson. Molly is a Dalmatian, and Hilton explained to the students how Dalmatians and firefighters date back to when fire trucks were wagons pulled by horses.

“The dogs would run alongside the wagon where the firefighters were riding and help keep all the other dogs away. Then when they got to the fire they would help keep the horses calm — that was their job,” Hilton said. “Today Dalmatians help teach fire safety.”

Molly is looking to get more Facebook likes on her Molly the Fire Safety Dog Facebook page and for people to visit her website, where they can keep up with her travels and reserve Skype sessions.

“Molly has about 115,000 friends on her Facebook page, and she’d love to have more,” Hilton said.