The SCOTTY Fire Safety House Gives Children the Tools to Save Lives

Many stories have been reported across the United States of children responding appropriately during a fire as a result of fire education programs established and carried out by their local fire departments— the following are recent examples.

Amarillo, TX - The Amarillo Fire Department is convinced that children are responsible for saving not only their own lives, but also the lives of their families.

Captain Bob Johnson, fire safety education specialist for the department, attributes this largely to their SCOTTY Fire Safety House and the fire safety and prevention lessons that he and his department teach to area school students. The program targets 3rd graders at 48 local schools year round.

“An instance that was a direct result of what was learned in the Safety House was a little 10-year-old who saw fire on the stove while her mother was cooking. She grabbed her little sister’s hand and ran outside without being given any instruction from her mother,” explained Johnson. “The mother told me this story when she came into the Safety House at a weekend event. I asked the little girl who told her to do that [run outside], and she said ‘you did.’ She had been in the Safety House the previous year when she was in 3rd grade.”

In addition to schools, the fire department takes the house to other groups and events whenever it is requested, and nearly 100 of these events and groups are regulars.

Personal stories like the one above prove that the department’s dedication to educating the public, specifically children, is working.

Johnson explained the circumstances surrounding a November, 2008, house fire in which a 10-year-old girl knew how to react during a fire. “The surviving girl told fire investigators that she had been through the Amarillo Fire Department [SCOTTY] Fire Safety House where she was taught to escape by always going away from smoke and fire, never toward it.”

Six of the 7 occupants escaped the fire including the 10-year-old who tried to save her older sister, 12, by encouraging her sister to follow her out of the building via a bedroom window.

Johnson elaborated, “The surviving girl told fire investigators that she and her sister woke up and went to the door of the bedroom where they looked toward the living room and saw fire. The 10-year-old told her sister that they couldn’t go that way, and they had to go out the bedroom window… she broke the window out with her hand, crawled through and jumped to the ground. She said she turned and thought that her sister had followed her, but instead, she had gone toward the living room.”

Like the surviving girl, another child told firefighters that he knew to crawl low to the nearest exit and never go back inside a burning building as a result of the lessons he learned during his fire education in the SCOTTY Fire Safety House at school.

“A house fire occurred in a small wood frame house just after 11 p.m. The boy’s grandmother discovered the fire and went to awaken her 10-year-old grandson… he ran to his grandfather’s bedroom, woke him and told him to crawl outside- staying low. The boy prevented his grandmother from going back inside for her cell phone.

We believe that his actions possibly saved the life of his grandfather, and perhaps even, his grandmother,” stated Johnson.

The department also has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of fire-related deaths since taking delivery of their SCOTTY Fire Safety House and the inception of their fire prevention and safety program. The department reported 13 fire deaths in 2008 and zero casualties in 2009.

The trailer-based SCOTTY Fire Safety House is manufactured by Mobile Concepts by Scotty, a specialty vehicle manufacturer located 50 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The hands-on mobile classroom is designed to resemble the out- and inside so that children feel more at ease and are better able to apply the lessons being taught.

The “house” comes fully-equipped with options for a life-like and functional kitchen area, bathroom, living room with fireplace and telephone system for practice calling 9-1-1, bedroom with heated door, emergency lighting, control room, smoke machine, severe weather simulator, escape windows and ladders as well as many other features. For more information, visit

Further proof of the effectiveness of the SCOTTY Fire Safety House lessons and prevention programs can be obtained on the Testimonials and Documented Saves portion of the manufacturer’s website.

If you would like to share your “saves” stories with the manufacturer, please contact Kim Tuscan at or 724-542-7640.

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