Hosted by: technogranny
Title: Techno Granny, Fire Survival Kits for Kids
Time: 12/06/2010 10:00 AM EST
Episode Notes: Retired City firefighter, Captain Jim Wyzomirski personally experienced a fire where five children perished. He needed to know why and what could be done to prevent this from happening again. He spent hundreds of hours of research about children dying in fires. Realizing that not enough is done in educating children about fire safety he spent many more hours designing and developing a Fire Survival Kit for Kids called the Wyz Kit. Hear what this kit includes, how it is used and how he educates children on fire safety.
Jim grew up in Etna,Pennsylvania and graduated from Shaler Area High school in 1972. A three year enlistment in the U.S. Army immediately followed.That gave me the chance to attend college on the G.I. bill.I graduated from California University of Pa. in 1980 with a Bachelor's degree in Urban Affairs.The next ten years were spent living in Philadelphia.I was in retail management for a few years and then became a professional firefighter.I found that firefighting was my calling.It is a truly admirable profession. It is both exciting and rewarding in knowing you actually can make a difference in people's lives.I decided to move back to Pittsburgh in 1980 and became a City firefighter here.The majority of my career was spent in East Liberty and I attained the rank of Captain.I retired from the Fire Bureau in July to pursue my interest in the Wyz Kit.I have over 23 years experience as a professional firefighter.
Wyz Kit Inc. was born from a personal experience I had from a fire where five children perished. I needed to know why and what could I do to help prevent this from happening again.I spent hundreds of hours of research about children dying in fires.I realized that not enough is done in educating children about fire safety and something new was needed.I spent many more hours designing and developing a Fire Survival Kit for Kids called the Wyz Kit.
The Wyz Kit is a unique and innovative fire safety product designed for elementary school children,although older children and even adults can benefit from the information it contains.The Kit combines traditional fire safety programs with actual fire survival techniques used by firefighters.The concept is to teach the children some basic fire behavior knowledge,show them the skills needed to escape a fire, and provide them with a few valuable tools to assist them in getting out safely.
The Kit contains several practical items that can be extremely important in an emergency situation.The Kit contains a nine minute video,which contains the most comprehensive array of information about fire prevention,fire safety,and explicit instructions about how to survive a fire in the home.It explains how and when to use all the items in the Kit.There are realistic demonstrations by children of what to do in a fire.A smoke detector is included ,specifically for the child's room.A small LED flashlight is also in the Kit and can be of valuable importance in finding your way in the dark or for signaling for help.A whistle is also included and can be used for alerting other family members and to help the firefighters find your location.A flag can also be used for getting attention from a window.The last item is a wooden mallet,which is only to be used as a last resort,and only if you cannot escape your room and cannot open your window.The video shows the safest way to break a window.
The box itself shows several safety tips and instructions on how to escape a fire.The Wyz Kit is designed to be kept in a very visible and accessible place in the room.It should either be hung on the back of the door or hung below a window.
Every year, over 800 children die in house fires and thousands more are injured.The Wyz Kit is designed to drastically reduce those numbers.
1) Can you describe what happened at the fire where the five children died?
Answer; On route to the fire, there was a report of children trapped.When we arrived on scene,the first floor was completely involved in fire.We immediately raised a ladder to the second floor front porch.There were three windows and we broke out all three and entered the room.It was completely blackened with smoke.We used a thermal imaging camera to help find any victims.Within two minutes we found three children and removed them from the room and handed them off to waiting medics.As the third child was removed ,the room lit up in fire.At that point ,there was no chance of any survivors.A few minutes later we located the fourth and fifth child and removed them from the structure, which was still burning out of control.After the fire was extinguished,several of us firefighters looked up at the room and were puzzled as to why not any of the children tried to open a window and climb onto the porch roof and safety. The answer could be as simple as no one ever told them what to do in case of a fire.They were possibly waiting for their parents ,whom had left them alone.But whatever the reason,it was a senseless loss of life and completely preventable.Over the next several months ,I began my search for solutions.
2) Why did you choose those particular items for the kit?
Answer: I relied on my experience as a firefighter and saw what kind of equipment we use all the time and what we carry in our running gear.I had to decide on the most crucial ,yet practical items for a child to use in an emergency. The first thing was educating the child.Firefighters are constantly training and learning.I produced a nine minute DVD, with the most comprehensive array of information about fire safety.Knowing the importance of early detection,a smoke detector ,explicitly for the child's room was a necessity.The whistle and flashlight and flag can all be invaluable in alerting others of your location.The wooden mallet is a last resort item,only to be used when other means of escape are exausted.
3) Do you provide any educational classes to groups of children or adults and is there any cost?
Answer; Yes,I do different types of presentations. I offer free guest lectures for adults in any organization or group function.I do a Fire Survival for Kids program for elementary school aged children.The parents of the children must pre approve the class,and purchase a Wyz Kit.
4) What age groups do you think will benefit the most from the kit and how young of a child can use them?
Answer: The kit is designed for ages 5 to 12,but older children and even adults can benefit from the information it contains.Some studies have showed children as young as three can understand and follow instructions if reinforced by their parents.
5) Why do you think the Wyz Kit can make a difference in a child's safety during a fire?
Answer: The Kit goes far beyond the usual lessons learned in school.It is something that they can keep on learning with.The video can be viewed over and over with their parents and their friends.It gives them realistic scenarios showing them exactly what to do and not do in a fire.It is a unique and innovative product combining all the necessary components needed to survive a fire disaster.
Listen to the live broadcast from December 6, 2010 at: