Middletown Students Star In National Fire Safety Music Video
PBS Star SteveSongs, with the help of Sparky the Fire Dog, helps kids stay fire safe by leading them through the four key steps for fire safety in this unforgettably catchy sing-along video, complete with fun and easy to follow dance steps and moves.
MIDDLETOWN — Students and staff at Macdonough School are the stars of a national fire safety music video with PBS star Steve "SteveSongs" Roslonek.
The video, filmed in the fall at the school, was released Friday morning on the National Fire Protection Association's outreach website for kids: http://www.sparkyschoolhouse.org.Middletown Fire Department staff and some parents are also featured in the music video to urge kids to form fire escape plans with their families. The video follows the Zakarian family as they evacuate their home when the smoke alarm sounds.
Quinn and Ani Zakarian, both students at Macdonough, get out of their apartment safely because they had an evacuation plan with their parents and practiced what they should do.
"It wasn't about us being stars in the video, it was about the message being sent," said Sowgol Zakarian, mother of the two students. "You could be saving lives and it's important that's what we focus on."
The video will be packaged with educational materials for teachers to use in short lessons with their students, said Judy Comoletti, public education division manager at the National Fire Protection Associaton. The group received a federal grant to create a music video for children in preschool through grade 3, and contracted with PBS Kids through a recommendation from professional development group WeAreTeachers, she said.
Comoletti said the lesson starts with teaching kids to recognize the sound of the alarm.
"When they hear that sound they get up, get out and go to their outside meeting place," Comoletti said. "The song uses some nice chorus music that repeats the message to the kids along with some actions they can use."
The school community and the fire department were given a preview of the video in early January.
"They have to make the plan and get out of the house to be safe," said Macdonough second-grade teacher Joanne Jukins, also the school's technology adviser.
Roslonek, a Wesleyan University graduate and a Connecticut resident, is a role model for kids who regularly see him on TV singing educational songs on PBS, Jukins said. The experience is also a morale builder for the students, who get a little dose of notoriety and a chance to be a positive part of fire safety, she said.
"It brings such positive recognition to our school and all the wonderful things that happen in our schools," Jukins said. "Parents are really getting involved in this community school."
Fire Marshal Albert Santostefano, who has been working with Macdonough students for more than a decade, said the unusual activity of filming a music video and acting helps the fire safety message stick with the children.
Santostefano, known as "Firefighter Al" to the kids at Macdonough, credited the success of the project in part to the school's close bond with Wesleyan, which helped Roslonek choose Middletown for the video.
"[Wesleyan] gets more involved in the town than people realize because they do it quietly without any fanfare," Santostefano said.