Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) has a longstanding tradition of reaching out to Illinois State students through events such as Festival ISU and other University-sponsored activities. This sort of outreach has always been a welcome interaction with the student population to promote safety and environmental health practices.

In April, EHS staff members Fanny Bowers and Adam McCrary took this interaction into the community by participating in the College Mentors for Kids program at Williams Hall. During the program, Bowers and McCrary hosted two sessions for local second-graders to promote public health, the importance of good hand washing and emergency preparedness as it relates to weather and fire-related emergencies.

In addition, Bowers also coordinates an annual fire safety presentation for third-graders at Thomas Metcalf School, the University’s laboratory school, which includes a hands-on demonstration with the Normal Fire Department. This involves a short interactive presentation by the Normal Fire Department training officer, followed up with a trip through a “smoke house” simulator where kids actually get to practice building evacuation using a mock-up building while simulated smoke is released.

The core message of the presentation and simulation is further reinforced through the use of coloring books and other informational and promotional materials that students can take home.

Bowers, McCrary, and other EHS staff who provide similar training and education outreach say it is personally rewarding to share information with children and the community that promotes public health and could potentially prove to be life-saving.