FDNY Fire Zone opens kicking off Fire Prevention Month with virtual kids event

MIDTOWN MANHATTAN (WABC) -- The FDNY and FDNY Foundation are celebrating the grand opening of the new FDNY Fire Zone to kick off the 95th Annual National Fire Prevention Week.

Right away, you can see what it's like to be one of New York's Bravest, from driving a rig to a water pump simulation, it's a holistic learning experience.

"We teach kids what to do, how to dial 911, what to do in a fire, where to meet outside the home," said Steve Ruzow, Chair of the FDNY Foundation.

Ruzow said the focus of the Fire Zone is saving lives.

"When I started to work for the department in the 1960s, late 60s, there were 370 fire deaths," he said. "Now there are, last year there were 68."

The FDNY believes it all starts with fire education.

"We have 6,000 patches from fire departments from all over the world," Ruzow said. "We have Disneyland, Walt Disney Studio fire, from Israel."

Hi-tech exhibits let you quickly find your favorite.

Retired FDNY members are available to lead visitors through real-life scenarios, said Captain Michael Kozo.

"In a smoke-filled hallway we teach them how to get out, to feel the wall, feel the door for heat when they open it, there's a lot they take away from that," Kozo said.

In the Fire Zone you get to see what it's like in the house watch, and there there's a real company journal.

A movie simulates a fire call, what it's like on the engine, and riding with sirens through the streets of New York City.

You'll get to go out on the call like a real firefighter and see where the problem started, and in this case, it was the kitchen.

"One of the biggest hazards in the kitchen is pans and food left on burners unattended," he said.

On Monday, a live virtual event from the Fire Zone kicks off fire prevention month for New York City school kids for Kindergarten to third grade.

It begins streaming live at 10 a.m. on www.FDNYSmart.org. Kids will learn fire safety from the FDNY alongside safety mascots, "Hot Dog" and "Siren."

The session culminates with Fire Commissioner Nigro swearing-in the children to be Junior FDNY members.

Joining Commissioner Nigro to mark the grand opening and start of Fire Prevention Week will be FDNY Foundation board members, including Chairman Stephen Ruzow and Vice Chairman Robert Zito.

The new FDNY FireZone replaces an older venue that opened in 2000, and offers a larger space to accommodate more visitors, presentations, and state-of-the-art technology to make fire and life safety learning come alive.

Among the highlights are an immersive educational theater, interactive games, a full-scale fire truck, and lively and informative tours led by FDNY firefighters.

ALSO READ: Take a look back at how the FDNY celebrated EMS week 2020

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