Firefighters Ian Iluminato, Sam Croome, and Captain Drew Erickson with the class of Blackberry Lane Pre-School. Photo by Amelie Schroeder

Class treated to tour of truck and equipment demo

Denman Island firefighters visit Blackberry Lane Pre-School

Denman Island Fire Rescue (DIFR) paid a visit to Blackberry Lane Pre-School on Denman Island recently.

Firefighters Sam Croome, Ian Illuminato, and Captain Drew Erickson arrived at the school during morning programming in Rescue 53, one of the department’s seven in-service fire and rescue vehicles.

The members introduced themselves to the 11 children in attendance on the day, fielded some great questions, and then treated the class to a full tour of the truck and all of its equipment. Included were demonstrations of the truck’s lights and sirens and an up-close look at how firefighters appear when dressed in full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

The visit was part of DIFR’s ongoing efforts to educate children in Denman’s school and daycare systems on topics such as fire safety and what to do in case of an emergency.

“Fire alarms and emergency situations can obviously be stressful for anybody, but can be especially so for kids,” said Erickson. “We try to give presentations here in our Denman community that educate kids on things like how to best prevent fire, what they can expect if the department needs to respond, and above all, how to maintain their composure in emergency situations. Remain calm, be smart, and stay safe.”

Denman Island Fire Rescue provides an island population of approximately 1,165 with fire suppression, fire prevention, medical first response and rescue.

Co-operation and support between organizations in small, closely-knit island communities like Denman Island are ultimately what allows those organizations to exist and thrive.

“I think smaller communities tend to have more of a sense of how interconnected we all are,” said Erickson. “There’s a real sense that what benefits one organization here can ultimately benefit the community as a whole, so we’re more than happy to devote time and effort to visits like this.”

Blackberry Lane Pre-School is an early education centre that currently provides care to 25 Denman children between the ages of 1-5.

The centre provides care from 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. It also provides full and part-time employment to a staff of seven, including both Early Childhood Educators and Responsible Adults.

“Affordable, quality childcare is an absolute necessity for making island life possible for young, working families with small children,” said BBL board president Lindsay McGinn. “At the pace of growth here over the last few years, with so many more young families moving to the island, we are quickly out-growing our space. The board is currently exploring expansion possibilities with a second site or a new site/new build being two of the options being considered.”

Fees cover 70 per cent of the cost of running Blackberry Lane, costs which includes wages, rent, insurance, and materials. A volunteer board of directors, made up of parents and community members, have the responsibility of fundraising approximately 30 per cent of the annual budget.

“And with a 50 per cent increase in the budget from last year to this year, our fundraising efforts have certainly increased!” said McGinn.

Denman Island Fire and Rescue also visited Grades 2-4 at the Denman Island Community School (DICS) last December, this time with a full focus on Fire Safety and Prevention. They utilized the Hazard House and Hazard Kitchen teaching kits as part of their presentation. The kits were a big hit with the students and the department has plans to use them again for the next Fire Safety and Prevention Presentation at the DICS, coming up later in 2018.

For more about Denman Island Fire Rescue, visit

For inquiries or donations to Blackberry Lane Pre-School, e-mail

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