Day at Sun Peaks fire hall broadens youths’ safety skills

 | July 31, 2012

Kids are pretty well versed in fire drill safety and practice when at school, but often times school is the only place those skills are addressed.
Before the academic year was out, the Discovery Centre for Balanced Education students took a trip to the Sun Peaks Fire Hall and rotated through a series of stations to broaden their range of fire safety awareness.
“It’s something we started last year (and decided to do) it again this year,” explains Captain Colin Cannon of Sun Peaks Fire Rescue. “It’s a lot of fun for them; it’s good learning. In a big city they’ll get, if they’re lucky, to see a firefighter only once (when they’re in) grade four.”
One station the team wanted to focus on was how and what to say if the children found they needed to call 911.
“Last year we found out that a couple of the kids didn’t know where they lived, so that was a big eye opener for us,” says Cannon. “At the end of the day we just want to know that they’ll be able to say, ‘My house is on fire and I live at so-and-so.’”
Another station introduced what firefighters look and sound like when coming into a burning building in their turnout gear.
“In the dark, a firefighter coming in, breathing on air can scare a lot of kids. What we do is start off putting the gear on layer by layer by layer, saying, ‘This is what I’m going to look like, this is how I’m going to approach you, don’t be scared, don’t hide under your bed, if I call for you yell back.’”
They also reviewed what smoke alarms sound like, and how to get out of the house if the alarm does sound, as well as completing a session on how to bandage small wounds and burns. The fire hall visit concluded with a junior firefit challenge.
This hands-on, experiential learning of the basics is something that Cannon hopes will stay with these kids forever in their rote memory banks.
Sun Peaks Fire Rescue will be hosting a public open house on Monday, August 6 at the fire hall.