ALBANY — You want to get the collective attention of a crowd of some 3,000 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds? Play “Baby Shark” on the PA system ... it’ll work like a charm.

Popular songs like the annoyingly catchy shark ditty and hits by Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake had young students from area schools and day care centers singing along and barely able to contain themselves to their seats as they gathered Tuesday morning for the Albany Fire Department’s annual fire prevention program at the Albany Civic Center.

And while the kids — and their teachers and volunteer chaperones — had a blast listening to and wiggling in place to popular tunes and high-fiving mascot-wearing AFD personnel and Albany Technical College fire suppression program students prior to the start of the event, the program was not just a fun day out for the youngsters.

“We do try to add a little fun to the mix, but this is an important education program for our students,” Deputy AFD Fire Chief Sebon Burns said. “We do this event every year, and every year it is the largest single fire safety program in the state. These and other outreach programs are an important part of what we do.”

But, Burns noted, the annual program is not just about teaching the kids to “stop, drop and roll.”

“This event gives us an opportunity to reach a lot of kids, and those kids in turn take what they learn into their homes,” the deputy chief said. “We have other programs that include adults, but the grown-ups actually learn more about fire prevention from their kids than anywhere else.”

Some 20 AFD personel and students from Albany Tech took part in the program.

“It’s important that these kids learn at a young age what they should do in the event of a fire,” Denise Douglas, a teacher in the New Birth Georgia Pre-K program, said. “This is a great way for them to learn about fire safety.”

Samantha McLean and Kathryn Demings, teachers at Dougherty County Pre-K, said the lessons of the AFD program are important to the youngsters.

“It teaches the kids what they need to do to protect themselves if there is a fire,” McLean said.

As for “Baby Shark” attacks ... well, the kids were fine on their own with that one.

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