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Blythedale Children's Hospital Educates Kids About Fire Safety

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Michelle Walker couldn't believe how heavy the fire helmet was that kids from the Blythedale Children's Hospital passed around during the Village of Mamaroneck Fire Department's first Christmas in July charity event Friday.

The helmet belonged to the Village of Mamaroneck Fire Department's first assistant chief Robert Pecchia, who led a fire prevention demonstration for the Valhalla hospital's young patients, who range in age from Pre-K to 21.

"It's fabulous," said Amelia Carpanzano, assistant principal of the Mt. Pleasant Blythedale U.F.S.D., the only public school district in New York created to educate a hospital popluation. "It's something that kids need to know about, and we do have burn victims here, so people need to know."

Pecchia went over the basics, like "stop, drop and roll," and offered several demonstrations to show the kids how they fight fires. Pecchia had his colleagues crawl around the room while wearing all of the gear they normally would when fighting a fire. Pecchia pointed out that their air masks make funny sounds, like Darth Vader.

After the 11 a.m. demonstration, the firemen held a barbecue outside. "We just fed 120 kids in a matter of 20 minutes," Carpanzano said. The food was donated by Powell Catering in Harrison. Additionally, Mario the magician donated his services and the Toy Box provided over 100 toys at a discounted price, said Felix Hughes, of the Village of Mamaroneck Fire Department.

"Hopefully it works out as well as I hope it does and it can be a continuing event," Hughes said.

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