Firefighters protect students by turning old hoses into safety sleeves

hoses used on door hinges to keep them from opening to intruders

Instead of throwing old fire hoses away, local firefighters are putting them to use to protect students.

Columbia County Fire Rescue and Lake City Fire Department are teaming up to put safety sleeves in school classrooms.

In the event of an emergency, a sleeve can be slipped over the top of the classroom door to stop it from opening.

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District Chief Joshua Wehinger, with Columbia County Fire Rescue, said the device acts as a secondary lock to buy first responders time.

“It’s sad that we have to do this, but we have to look at ways to keep our kids safe,” Wehinger said.

Austin Thomas, an engineer with Lake City Fire Department, said the added protection comes at no cost.

“The Fire Department bought it for the purpose firefighting and since it’s no longer in use for us, we’re just glad we can find a good use for it,” Thomas said.

For Thomas, whose wife is a teacher, it’s personal.

“I do think about this on a little bit different level, with my wife in the back of my mind,” Thomas said.

The departments are working with the Columbia County School District to outfit each classroom with a safety sleeve. They hope to install them very soon.

Click here for more information on safety sleeves.