Kids peaked out of their classrooms with excitement Friday morning at Maple Dale Middle School, as firefighters from the North Shore Fire Department arrived at Judy Carlton's fourth grade class to honor one student, Casey O'Hare.
With her parents and principal standing in the back, and a second class assembled on the floor of the classroom, Casey was awarded an honorable mention for the poster design she submitted to the Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety annual Fire Safety Poster Contest.
From more than 700 entries from across the state, WAFS gave out one grand prize, two first-place prizes, four second-place prizes, and six honorable mentions.
"She worked really hard on her poster," Casey's mom, Susan O'Hare said. "It took her about a week. I think she felt overwhelmed, and very honored."
Casey's poster, featuring a family standing outside their burning home, says:
"Hear the beep? Quick on your feet! Get to where your family meets!"
"It's a tremendous message," WAFS Executive Director Dan Gengler said. "The program was about the artwork and the message, and she did a wonderful job of combining them."
Casey received gift cards to Kohl's Department Store and Art Trooper, as well as her framed work.
The presentation was also an opportunity to educate kids about fire safety.
"Our primary concern is the safety of the community, so any time we get a chance to promote fire safety, especially with young peple, we want to do that," NSFD Battalion Chief Steve Brennan said.
Brennan reminded the kids to practice an escape plan with a meeting point away from the house, and encouraged them to try it blindfolded, as smoke can be blinding during a fire.
"You should practice fire safety 365 days a year," Gengler said. "Who knows what's different about this year? ... There are 366 days. You've got 24 more hours to practice this year."
For more information and activities to prevent and prepare for a fire, go to the WAFS website.