Manhattan Beach Fire Department Salutes Yount on Last School VisitOct 09, 2021 09:21AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Members of the Manhattan Beach Fire Department came out to salute Officer Brian Yount at his last school visit on Friday - 14 years after he started a popular fire safety education program at Manhattan Beach schools.
Each year, firefighters visit second grade classes in Manhattan Beach and talk about fire prevention and fire safety. Students are then asked to draw a fire escape plan from their homes. Firefighters pick the winning plan from each school, and that youngster gets a special ride to school from the fire department.
On Friday, Yount and his crew gave a ride to Pacific Elementary 2nd grader Casey Diep, then brought her to school where a crowd of students, teachers, and fellow firemen were waiting. Pacific students and teachers presented Yount with a handmade firetruck sign with letters from students.
"It's bittersweet," Yount said of his last year with the program. "It's something I look forward to every year - it's always been a fun part of my job."
Yount launched the program in 2007 when his son was in second grade. Fourteen years later, the program has reached between 8,000 and 10,000 second-graders (the oldest of whom are now in college), and the department will have made 84 special trips to school carrying a proud second grader.
When he started the program, he had to try to convince schools to let him come in to present his material, Yount said. "It was a novelty. But after several years it became part of the curriculum. Now it's kind of a second grade rite of passage."
Yount is retiring this year but the department intends to continue the program.