Georgia Fire Safety and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine swears in Hannah Holland and the rest of her Evans Elementary School
second-grade class as Junior Fire Marshals.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Hannah Holland felt like a celebrity Tuesday.
The Evans Elementary School second-grader, whose fire safety poster was chosen as the state winner in her grade during Fire Safety Week in October, received a special delivery of her artwork from a state official.
Hannah's drawing of a family escaping a fire was featured in a safety calendar sponsored by the office of John Oxendine, the state's fire safety and insurance commissioner.
Her poster, which was picked out of nearly 600 submitted from pupils from kindergarten through fifth-grade, was featured with the month of February in the 2004 National Fire Protection Association's annual fire-safety calendar.
Oxendine kicked off a statewide fire safety campaign aimed at elementary-schoolers and distribution of the calendars by personally delivering a copy to 7-year-old Hannah and sharing fire safety tips with her class and four other third-grade classes.
"Fire safety, that is the message we want to get out," Oxendine said. "I don't want any more Georgians, especially children, to die needlessly in fires.
"Adults get set in their ways. It is hard to change their habits. We teach the children, and they tell the adults to have fire drills and smoke detectors."
Hannah enthusiastically threw her hand in the air when Oxendine asked the class who wanted to be deputized as Junior Fire Marshals. Their oath included making sure they have a smoke detector with batteries changed twice a year and a fire escape plan.
"Sometimes, when parents cook, they don't do a real good job, and this thing goes off," Oxendine explained, holding up a smoke detector. "It's doing its job. So never let your parents take the batteries out of the smoke detector."
Hannah added a few tips of her own, including never to put a smoke detector in the bathroom, she said, because a steamy shower could set it off.
"I am real proud of Hannah," said Doug Cooper, Martinez Fire Department Chief, who led Hannah's class on a tour of a fire truck.
Hannah could not decide which was more exciting, winning the contest or touring the fire truck.
But she did enjoy Oxendine's personal visit, she said, and her moment of fame.
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