BELMAR, NJ — It took Belmar Elementary School’s prekindergarten class only a matter of minutes to walk over to the Volunteer Hook & Ladder Fire Co. But for the firefighters who welcomed the group, they hope the fire safety lesson the students received will last a lifetime.

For more than a decade, the 11th Avenue fire station has opened its doors every October to the school’s younger students in observance of National Fire Prevention Month. And this year, nearly 40 prekindergartners learned about the importance of dialing 911, having a fire escape plan and family meeting space at home, and avoiding such items as candles and lighters.

They also got a chance to tour the firehouse and check out the fire apparatus during the October 7 class trip. “The kids got to pass around some firefighter equipment, like helmets and self-contained breathing apparatus face masks,” said former chief Tucker Brendle, who was joined by Lt. Bob Pollock, former chief Doug Brand and members Lambros Komitas, Kevin Moroney and Mike Provenzano.

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“The firefighters put on their gear to show the kids not to be afraid of them in case of an emergency,” he added.

Getting an up-close look at the fire trucks is always a highlight of the trip. “The kids walked around the fire trucks and even got to walk through the inside cab of the ladder truck and get their pictures taken,” Brendle said.

Every student received their very own junior firefighter helmet — and a chorus of sirens and air horns on their trek back to school.

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