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Stop, Drop, and Educate: NSA Naples Firefighter presents at Local International School

21 November 2022

From Aaliyah Essex

NAPLES, Italy---Twelve students from British military families sat side-by-side in their classroom at British Forces School Naples eagerly awaiting a visit from a Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples’ Fire and Emergency Services (FES) Firefighter. The class recently began learning about the Great Fire of London. FES Fire Inspector Lawrence Beal and Sparky the Fire Dog joined them to further discuss the historic fire and talk about basic fire safety.
“The Great Fire of London occurred in 1666,” Beal said as he explained the incident to the children.

According to the London Fire Brigade, the lack of knowledge about the dangers of fire led to roughly 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches and 3 important cultural sites (The Royal Exchange, Guildhall and St. Paul’s Cathedral) being destroyed.

At the time, buildings were constructed closely together using timber, covered with flammable resin and roofed with thatch. The area was also suffering a drought. The building and weather conditions contributed to the severity of the fire.

A total of six deaths were recorded as a result of the fire.

“Why didn’t the firefighters stop the fire?” Beal asked the students. “Because at the time, they did not have firefighters like you see today,” said Beal.

He explained that the standards for fire safety and firefighting back then were still primitive compared to today and that fire safety was not as widespread as it is today.

After talking about the historic fire, class teacher, Sarah Page requested Beal teach the students about basic fire safety.

“What can students do if they are in a room filled with smoke and fire?” Page asked as the children listened.

“Well, the first thing to remember is that your air is down below,” Beal answered as he began to demonstrate how to get down on the ground, check doors before opening them and call for help if they are trapped in a fire.

Beal also encouraged students to go home and talk to their parents about having fire drills in their households.

Beal says teaching fire safety practices to young children can impact everyone around them by spreading that information through their families.

“I hope the students take this information back to their families and friends and it spreads around,” Beal said.
Beal concluded his presentation by giving each of the students fire hats, firefighter badge stickers, and coloring books.

The students put on their new gear at the conclusion of the discussion.

“Now we are real firefighters,” exclaimed a student after wearing the hat and badge.

Page expressed gratitude at the conclusion of the engagement saying this opportunity gave the students a chance to experience engagements like they would in England that they do not normally get to experience in the military community.

“This was an excellent learning experience for our children. To have a fire expert in our class to explain how the Great Fire of London happened and why the fire spread so quickly made the learning so much more authentic. The children loved having the opportunity to ask questions to a firefighter. [Beal] was a great role model and told the girls that they could be fire fighters too,” said Page.

Commanding Officer of NSA Naples, Capt. James Stewart, voiced his support of the community relations event.

"The work our firefighters do to protect our community is critical and their actions always resonant with the younger generations,” said Stewart. “Firefighters are hometown heroes and it's always fantastic to have these community engagements where we bring them into the classroom. Interactions like these increase familiarity for the kids with our firefighters and builds upon our positive relationship with our allies, partners, and the youth of tomorrow.”

NSA Naples is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed, when they are needed to ensure security and stability in the European, African, and Central Command areas of responsibility.

For more news about NSA Naples and the Sailors who serve onboard the installation, please follow us on Instagram @NSANaples and Facebook at
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