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Germantown Fire Department ‘clowns’ teach fire safety

Germantown Fire Department ‘clowns’ teach fire safety

The week of October 9 is known as National Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week, a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in the country.
During National Fire Prevention Week, firefighters typically provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.
The Germantown Fire Department thinks outside of the box when it comes to teaching people, children especially, about fire safety.
The L.A.F.S (Learning About Fire Safety) Clown Troupe sets the Germantown Fire Department apart from other local agencies.
The LAFS troupe is comprised of six Germantown firefighters who volunteer to assist with teaching fire safety to young audiences in a way that is both fun and informative.
The troupe designs and produces new props and programs each year based on popular trends and characters. In addition to acting, troupe members also assist with set preparation and audiovisual effects.
Each October, the LAFS crew stages skits a local elementary schools and reaches about 6,500 students annually.
This year, the troupe performed at Riverdale Elementary, Forest Hill Elementary, Dogwood Elementary, Germantown Elementary, Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH), St. George’s, Rossville Academy and Madonna Learning Center. This year’s skit was based on a game show where contestants had to answer fire safety questions correctly in order to avoid the “Pool of Doom.” The LAFS troupe has been widely successful in educating their audiences on key fire safety messages.
Members of the troupe have completed the “Education Characterization through Clowning Academy” (aka Clown School) in Arizona to learn proper clown techniques, attire and makeup. In 2014, the troupe earned the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office Fire Education of the Year Award.
The LAFS team is comprised of Howard “Jelly” Thompson, Dewey Parnell, Zack Thorn, Christopher Mielenz, Charlie Jones, Dave Nance, Charles Haumesser, Loy Leffingwell and Gino Dell-oso.

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