CLARK, NJ - The Clark Preschool hosted two very special community helpers this month from the police and fire departments.

On April 17, Canine Police Officer Anthony Gialanella, Officer Tim O’Grady, and Officer Ashley Yasinski from the Union County Sheriff’s Office visited the school for Community Helper Month. 

The officers spoke about their duties on the K-9 Search and Rescue unit. The officers told the students that the dogs are trained by their handlers and bred for their intelligence and strong sense of smell. 

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They care for their dogs 24/7, working with them during the day, and when off-duty, the canine officers and dogs go home together to their families.

Their working duties involve bomb investigations and specialized patrol functions serving the local Police Department, Prosecutor’s Office, and the County Police within Union County. 

 “The police officers and their dogs kept the children riveted during the presentation and sparked their curiosity with questions at its conclusion,” said Supervisor of the Preschool/School Nurses Lori Kowalski.

On the very next day, Linden Firefighter Barry Kaverick also visited the Clark Preschool to talk about fire safety.  He described his role as a firefighter and father to two preschoolers, Cashlyn and Brett. 

The fire safety presentation provided an overview on fire prevention including what to do in case of a fire, activating 911, identifying smoke alarms and changing batteries, fire drills, firefighters’ role as community helpers, and firefighter equipment.

He reinforced these principles of Stop, Drop and Roll:

  • Stop! Do not run, if your clothes catch on fire.
  • Drop to the floor in a prone position.
  • Cover your face with your hands to protect it from the flames.
  • Roll over and over to smother the fire. Don't stop until the flames have been extinguished.

At the end of the presentation, Firefighter Barry showed the children his gear and welcomed them to try it on.


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