Eight-year-old Ryshaad L. Harrison is a hero to his family. Recently, a small fire broke out in the home of his grandmother, Diedryz Clark. Thanks to Ryshaad’s quick thinking and the information he retained from a fire safety education class conducted by Thomasville Fire Rescue, Ryshaad was able to alert his family to the fire before it got out of hand. Because of his quick thinking, Ryshaad has been recognized as a hero by Thomasville Fire Rescue and the Thomas County Fire Department.
"Ryshaad was a student in a program presented by the Thomasville Fire Rescue Fire Safety Clowns," said Lt. Marshall Green, who coordinates the fire clown program for TFR. "We present these programs quite frequently and always hope that the students will retain the information and remember what to do in the case of an emergency. It is very rewarding to hear that Ryshaad did just that."
According to Clark, Ryshaad enjoyed the fire safety program at school, which prompted conversation at home about what to do in case of fire. "We talked about where we would meet if we ever had to evacuate, not thinking we’d ever actually experience a real fire."
Sometime later, the unexpected happened, and Ryshaad was the first to notice something was wrong.
"The fire started after we changed out a light fixture," explained Clark. "I was in another room, but Ryshaad saw the fire and told me that we needed to get out now and call 9-1-1. He remembered everything that he learned in the fire program."
Kristi Williams, Ryshaad’s teacher, said that the program is always very popular with her Garrison-Pilcher Elementary School students.
"The program is very entertaining and the children enjoy it very much," she said. "Ryshaad’s actions show that the students are listening more than you might think sometimes."
Ryshaad’s mother, Shinedia Oats, said that the experience has made an impression on Ryshaad. "He said that when he grows up, he wants to be a firefighter so he can help other people," she said.
In addition to a plaque presented by TFR and Thomas County Fire, Ryshaad was also treated to a hero’s celebration courtesy of Firehouse Subs and given a specially-designed TFR superhero cape from Everfan.
Ryshaad said that he was very excited about being named a hero, and particularly enjoyed the tour of Fire Station 1 and a chance to sit in a real fire truck. He later summed up the experience of being named an official hero by TFR with one word: "Cool."
For more information about the Fire Safety Clown programs, please call TFR at (229) 227-4099.