Darth Vader takes over HFD, Bend Gate Elementary in one of a kind education program

Darth Vader invaded Bend Gate Elementary School in Henderson Thursday, kidnapping Henderson Fire Chief Scott Foreman and dozens of students' attention.

It's all part of the department's unique fire prevention program, teaching kids fire safety in a way no other department does-- by putting on a play.

In a galaxy far, far away, just off Bend Gate Road, Darth Vader and his Death Star payed a visit to Henderson Fire Department and Bend Gate Elementary,and he took prisoners.

“They really tune in and they remember and they sing the songs and talk about the skits for days and days and weeks to come, so its really great for the kids,” said Allison White, a 5th grade teacher at Bend Gate.

This one of a kind fire prevention program, like “Star Wars” itself, began a long time ago.

“About 39 years ago for the Henderson Fire Department some of our guys decided they wanted to do a little bit more than just take our message to the schools, so they actually came up with some kind of skit program to deliver the message,” said HFD Fire Chief Scott Foreman.

After decades of performing at Henderson County's preschools and elementary schools, the shows, just like the iconic series, is still capturing audiences of all ages.

“They make it more funny, and its just funner to do this stuff than just sitting down and having somebody talk to you,” said Bend Gate 5th grader Solomon Sugg.

The same goes even for those on the stage, trading in one costume and breathing apparatus for another.

“It is a nice break from the daily grind, I guess you would call it,” said HFD Lieutenant Mike Ivie, “when we have all of our gear and our masks, to small kids we can actually look pretty scary, so that's one thing that we want to teach them, that we're not scary, we're just people, and we actually want to have fun and build a good relationship with them.”

While the theme may change year to year the message always stays the same from generation to generation, by reminding everyone that emergencies may not always be so far, far away.

“Its an important message for everyone, not just for kids, its stuff that adults forget too, so it's a good message to hear for everybody,” said Chief Foreman.

This year the department is doing something different by making their November 18th performance at South Middle School open to the public.

This year HFD also incorporated some tips for gas emergencies as well.

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