For the first time since before the pandemic the Brownsville Independent School District and City of Brownsville held a fire prevention awareness event on Wednesday, sending Fire Engine 6 from Brownsville Fire Station 6 to Hudson Elementary, where the crew shared fire safety know-how with second- and third-graders.

Lt. Annnibal Longoria Jr., a 20-year-plus Brownsville Fire Department veteran, shared information and answered questions from the students on a bright sunny morning, using the fire engine to demonstrate hoses, nozzles and other firefighting tools. At one point Longoria encouraged the students to become firefighters themselves. When asked for a show of hands how many thought they would, nearly all hands in a second-grade group went up.

The theme of this year’s National Fire Prevention Week, “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety,” was chosen a year ago at the height of the pandemic when many children and parents worked from home. This year students are learning to recognize particular sounds, which is critical to preventing injury and death from fire.

Remembering to “stop, drop and roll,” if your clothing catches on fire was one concept taught during the event, firefighter/paramedic Walter E. Velasquez said.

Hudson Principal Melinda Lopez said she was glad to see in-person fire safety education taking place during National Fire Prevention Week.

“I get to see the excitement on the students’ faces and hear them learning,” she said, comparing this year’s event to the virtual one held last year. “They’re having fun while learning important lessons.”

During his  presentation, Longoria said that as paramedics one of the most important things firefighters do is help people who are sick or in need of help in different situations.

As part of fire prevention week, the city is holding a fire safety poster contest. Amanda Ely, fire instructor with the fire marshal’s office, coordinates the contest and said it draws hundreds of entries every year. The contest is open to all students in Brownsville in grades Pre-K through 12  enrolled in any school.