Safety plan earns West Carrollton students ride of a lifetime

Students ride fire truck to school in West Carrollton

WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio (WDTN) —  Some West Carrollton elementary school students got a special ride to school Friday accompanied by lights and sirens. Four lucky students rolled up to school in a fire engine.

“I was just happy. I wanted to cry,” beamed second grader Sofia Santillan.

After a school visit from West Carrollton firefighters earlier in October, students were tasked to create a home safety plan.

“If they have a plan, they have a greater chance of getting out,” stated firefighter/paramedic Josh Whitehead, who helped create the program. “We teach them that they got to go into every room of their house; they got to learn two ways out of every room; they got to learn to check for their smoke detectors and remind their parents to change their batteries or their carbon monoxide detectors.”

“She was telling me what we have to do with ladders and how to get out of the house from the windows,” said Rafael Santillan, Sofia’s dad.

First grader Kadence Cavour stated it’s important to have a home plan “in case of a fire.”

Sixty-six students submitted their plans to the fire department, and four were chosen at random to ride to school with firefighters.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a fire engine before,” exclaimed third grader James Weber.

Before climbing on board, the fire department served up breakfast for the students.

“I’m very happy they picked me, and I want to say thank you a lot for picking me,” said first grader Caleb Elter.

With their stomachs full, they started the engine, ready to head off to school. With flashing lights, they were greeted by smiles and waves.

“Typically when we go on a call, we have to deal with people on the worst day of their life sometimes,” said Whitehead. “But to get out and do things like this where we get to have fun interaction and create a learning environment for the kids, it’s what we like to do.”

This was the third year for the program. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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