Thousands of children attend 16th Annual Fire Safety program at Civic Center

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Albany, Ga.-- More than 4,000 children laughed, screamed, sang and giggled along with area firefighters during the 16th annual Fire Safety program at the Albany Civic Center Wednesday morning.

The event is hosted each year by the Albany Fire Department but incorporates firefighters and officials from the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany Fire Department and the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner's office.

Click here to see more photos from the event.

"It's all about the kids," AFD Assistant Chief Sebon Burns, who was in charge of putting on the program, said. "We just hope they have fun but also pick up some of the messages about safety that we have here too."

Burns' boss, AFD Chief James Carswell, commended the work of his staff in putting in the time and the effort to host the program each year and echoed Burns' statements as to their ultimate purpose.

"A lot of the firefighters here today are here on their off-duty time...it's just something that means a lot to them and something that they feel is important and that's great because frankly we couldn't do it without them," Carswell said. "The challenge is keeping it fun, so we keep the kids' attention, but, in the process, show the importance of not playing with fire."

Some of the topics discussed Wednesday were how to "Stop, Drop and Roll," proper use of 911, why its important not to play with matches and to make sure they have a working smoke detector in their homes.

Albany Mayor Willie Adams, who welcomed the children at the start of the program, reminded them to have fun but to take away from the event something meaningful.

"We want you people to have fun here in Albany, but we want you to learn as well," he said. "Remember to go home and check and see if you have a smoke detector and if you don't, tell your parents."

The event is one of the single largest fire safety programs for children in the state, attracting thousands of young students who range in age from pre-k to elementary age.