Dogs teach fire skills to children at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary School

Published: Jan. 26, 2018 at 12:05 PM EST
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A hundred students shuffled in to Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary's gym Friday morning, to talk about fire safety. What kept the attention of the tiny tots were the furry friends Jeff Owens brought with him.

"Children have adults stand in front of them and talk to them all day every day. The fact that the dogs can do the skills and they relate it to them, that's where the retention comes," said Owens.

Owens shows students how to stop, drop, and roll, and how to get out of a burning home. His program, the Kasey Program, has saved the lives of at least 16 children.

"The fire department will do an interview post fire with the family. A lot of times they will ask them, how did you know what to do? And the kids will say, Kasey taught me," noted Owens.

Owens is a retired Indianapolis firefighter/paramedic. He's seen more tragedy than anyone should.

"I have images in my head of pulling not only adults, but children out of fires that did not survive. Those are etched in my brain, and will be my entire life," he said. "I'm driven by what I've seen, and I want to prevent other firefighters from having to see what I see."

The Kasey Program really started to grow back in 1998, when Koorsen Fire and Security stepped in as sponsor. Owens has been running the Kasey Program for almost 25 years.