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‘Elf on the Shelf’ Encourages Fire Safety During Holiday Season

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Your “elf on the shelf” at home is probably dressed in his red pajamas but the elf at the Wilkes-Barre City Fire Departmen...

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Your "elf on the shelf" at home is probably dressed in his red pajamas but the elf at the Wilkes-Barre City Fire Department can sometimes be found in uniform.

"Petey's fully equipped with bunk gear. He even has a webbing belt so he can do some rope rescue and his hat," said Wilkes-Barre firefighter Jeremy Cook. "Air pack and facepiece, an ax, access to a fire extinguisher, fire hydrants and hoses. Last year, he even had some friends join him for a little bit.

Jeremy Cook says firefighters at the headquarters on East Ross Street use Petey to connect with people online.

"We get a lot of laughs online. People enjoy to see Petey's adventures in the fire station and the trouble he gets up to."

Petey is not just here during the holiday season to see which firefighters in Wilkes-Barre were naughty or nice. He's also here to promote safety.

"With Petey, it gives us another tool to use to get to the children so that they understand the importance of what we do and how to keep themselves safe," said Wilkes-Barre Fire Capt. Francis Evanko.

On the Wilkes-Barre City Firefighters Local 104 Facebook page, Petey talks about safe kitchen habits, Christmas tree lighting tips, and equipment maintenance.

"For us to use him to reinforce some of our messages without a doubt helps us and the community," Capt. Evanko said.

Some firefighters say they wish Petey could stick around all year to help spread safety messages. Unfortunately, he has other obligations

"He goes away today. Actually, today was Petey's last day. He has to fly back to the North Pole to report on all the good firefighters to Santa or the bad ones," said Cook.