JOPLIN, Mo. — National Fire Prevention Week has some Joplin firefighters playing the part of puppeteers this week.

Fire safety and prevention came in the form of a puppet show at College Heights Christian School. And not just a puppet show.

Sponsored by 1-800-BOARD-UP, a national disaster recovery organization, it also gave kids a look at some of the gear firefighters have to put on during a fire. This gear was worn by one of their teachers as a way to show them that underneath it all, is someone they recognize.

The kids went outside and got an up-close and personal look at one of Joplin’s fire engines.

“I hope if, I hope if nothing else they do learn not to play with matches and lighters and that firemen are just like their teachers and other adults and they’re nothing to be scared of. Before pre-COVID, we did every school in Jasper County, McDonald County and part of them in Newton County. Since COVID, we’ve got about 25-percent participation rate now within Joplin and I expect that to increase gradually until we can get to our hundred percent again,” said Mark Box, Board Up.

Firefighters will present another puppet show tomorrow afternoon at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School”.

Friday morning, they’ll host a “Big Wheel Day” for the kids at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.