BELMAR, NJ — For at least 12 years, members of Belmar’s Volunteer Hook & Ladder Fire Co. know the drill when October rolls around. In observance of National Fire Prevention Month, they invite a special group of visitors to their 11th Avenue firehouse — kindergartners at Belmar Elementary School.

Keeping with that tradition, this year’s class of 5- and 6-year-olds made the quick walk across Main Street this morning to Hook & Ladder’s fire station for a fun, yet information lesson in fire safety.

They toured the firehouse, checked out the fire apparatus and even climbed inside the big, bright and shiny ladder truck, where each student had their photo taken as a souvenir of the October 10 class trip.

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“We went over fire safety, firefighter equipment and turnout gear, and we showed them what a firefighter looks like when they're in their gear,” said former chief Tucker Brendle, who was joined by current Hook & Ladder chief Steve Hudson and former chief Doug Brand.

They reviewed the basics of fire safety and prevention — knowing two ways out of the house and how to stop, drop and roll if clothing catches fire, reacting to smoke detectors, sleeping with the bedroom door shut, not touching lighters or matches, and calling 911.

Equally as importantly, they wanted to assure the 5- and 6-year-olds that firefighters are their friends. “We stressed community, that we are here to help and to not be afraid of firefighters,” Brendle said. “The kids and the teachers seemed to really enjoy themselves and the firefighters couldn't have been happier.”

And they didn’t go away empty-handed. Everyone received fire prevention materials to review at home with their families.

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