Snowhill Elementary student among winners in state poster contest

A third grader at Snowhill Elementary School in Springfield was named the winner of a statewide fire safety poster contest.

Piper Burcham, 9, placed first for her grade in the state for the contest, which was hosted by the State Fire Marshal’s office. Piper said she spent at least five hours to make her poster.

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The contest is held annually to teach fire safety to school-age children, according to Charles Arnold, state fire marshal and fire safety educator.

“It’s kind of a fun thing that helps promote fire safety within school-age children,” Arnold said.

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“It’s very important to teach fire safety so (kids) know what to do… if they hear their smoke detectors going off,” Arnold said. “The smoke detector goes off and lets you know there’s smoke, but it’s up to you to do the right things and be able to get out of that situation alive.”

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Piper said the contest taught her about the importance of fire safety. “You should always check your smoke detectors and you should always be careful because there can be a fire anywhere.”

Piper said she was “embarrassed” by the announcement, but said: “It was fun.”

Her winning entry featured a woman in a burning structure screaming for help and an fire truck approaching with the words “Don’t worry. We’re coming.”

The annual contest kicks off during Fire Prevention Week in October. The contest winners are generally recognized in the spring.

The theme for this year’s contest was “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”

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