Fire prevention and safety important, remind Comox Valley firefighters

Comox Valley fire departments are busy reminding the public about fire prevention and safety.

FIREFIGHTER DAN MCLELLAN directs a Queneesh Elementary student to a safe meeting place after teaching him how to get out of a (mock) burning house safely.

FIREFIGHTER DAN MCLELLAN directs a Queneesh Elementary student to a safe meeting place after teaching him how to get out of a (mock) burning house safely.

As the weather is getting colder and people are again heating their homes, Comox Valley fire departments are busy reminding the public about fire prevention and safety.

Next week is Fire Prevention Week, from Oct. 7 to 13, and Courtenay deputy fire chief Kurt MacDonald said the whole month of October is the perfect time of year for public reminders.

“This time of year you’ve got people that are using wood heat to heat their homes so you have a higher chance of having a chimney fire,” said MacDonald. “You’ve got people with furnaces and natural gas and stuff, you know, all these appliances are starting to be utilized this time of year because it’s getting colder.”

He noted a few simple tasks people can do to protect themselves from fire: ensure working smoke alarms are in the home, have a fire escape plan, check for fire hazards around the house, have chimneys cleaned, refrain from burning green wood and pay close attention when cooking.

MacDonald noted an important aspect of teaching about fire safety is the transportable fire safety house.

The house is taken around to Comox Valley elementary schools throughout the month to teach Grade 3s what to do in a fire. Kids go into the house and firefighters teach them what to do as the house fills up with fake smoke.

According to MacDonald, teaching children at this age is important for two reasons. One is that they need to know what to do if they’re in a fire.

“If they’ve been properly trained, they’re less likely to panic and go hide in their closet or hide under their bed, you know, they’re more likely to get down on the floor, check the door with the back of their hand, crawl to safety,” he said. “It’s not always possible that mom and dad are going to be able to reach them.”

He also said trained kids train their parents.

“They’re like little sponges and they go home and they tell their parents everything that they learned about during the day,” he said. “They go home and they start nagging them (their parents) to check their smoke detectors or ‘Mom you should be watching the stove while you’re cooking’ or anything like that — they’re very good teachers for adults.”

The Courtenay Fire Department will also have a display set up Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Home Depot (388 Lerwick Rd.), which is a professional development day for teachers, so kids are not in school. Firefighters will be on hand to teach the public about fire prevention and safety — and show off a fire truck.

• • •

The Comox Fire Department will host its annual open house at the fire hall (1870 Noel Ave.) on Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We do it every year and it usually turns out to be a pretty big deal,” said fire chief Gord Schreiner. “We’re well-located in Comox here on a very busy street; we typically give away hot dogs and drinks during the event and so it draws a fairly big crowd, and we have lots of nice equipment to look at and people seem pretty interested in fire safety.”

Comox firefighters also head out to Comox elementary schools to teach kindergarten to Grade 3 students about fire safety. They send home information packages for their families, and get the kids geared up for the fire safety contest; each Comox elementary school that completes a set of fire prevention activities can enter to win $500.

Schreiner noted the Comox Fire Department will focus on teaching the importance of smoke alarms because they are a simple device that can save lives, but the department will also try to cover the whole gamut of fire safety.

“We’ll talk about things like having a fire extinguisher in your home, for example, and knowing how to use it, having your house properly addressed so emergency services can find you, you know, things like that,” he said.

• • •

Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department fire chief Mike Williamson said the village will recognize Fire Prevention Week a little later, from Oct. 21 to Oct. 27.

Firefighters will also head out to teach Grade 3s about fire safety and will hand out a special fire safety book to each student.

“It’s all on fire safety and the kids have the whole year to do it, and at the end they get a certificate signed by the fire chief,” explained Williamson. “It’s interactive with the parents. They take it home, you know, they learn their escape plans and they have to bring it back, they have to make a safety poster — and it’s really a good system.”

There will also be tours of the fire hall (2673 Dunsmuir Ave.) that week.

Williamson said people need to take fire safety and prevention seriously, pointing out that the Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department has pretty fast response times once they get a call, but people need to protect themselves, too.

“Our response times are like five or six minutes, so in five six minutes there’s a lot of things that can happen, and so you need that early detection, you know, it’s so important, like a plan and early detection to get out of the house,” he said.

For more on Fire Prevention Week, visit www.fiprecan.ca.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health has announced a COVID-19 outbreak at Glacier View Lodge, a long-term care facility in the Comox Valley. File photo.
Island Health declares a COVID outbreak at Glacier View Lodge in Courtenay

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a long-term care facility in… Continue reading

The Village of Cumberland and the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS) are offering two new spring break camps, open to children ages eight to 13. Photo supplied
Village and Cumberland Community Forest Society co-hosting spring break camps

Submitted The Village of Cumberland and the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS)… Continue reading

HIGHLAND sECONDARY scHOOL comox
COVID-19 exposure at sixth Comox Valley school in past eight days

Island Health has posted an exposure alert at a sixth Comox Valley… Continue reading

Artist Sandra Meigs will be the next speaker in NIC’s online 2021 Artist Talk series, appearing virtually on Friday, March 5 at 1 pm. For the full schedule and link to attend the Artist Talk Online Series, visit https://nicart.tickit.ca/. (Photo: The Glass Ticker (2017) — 15’ X 9’ X 5’, wood, enamel, lights, aluminum, glass, automata. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.)
Celebrated artist and mentor joins North Island College Artist Talk series

North Island College’s virtual 2021 Artist Talk series welcomes Sandra Meigs, past… Continue reading

The Coast Range makes a spectacular backdrop for orca heading towards Discovery Passage of Campbell River Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Frank Neil
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The humanoid sensing robot has a 3D printed finger cap that measures oxygen levels. (Dr. Woo Soo Kim)
Medical care robots being made with 3D origami in B.C. lab

Would you let a robot take your temperature?

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell gets acquainted with Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird’s 10-month-old daughter Sophia, husband Steve and four-year-old Amy at the B.C. legislature before a ceremony to endorse the Tsawwassen Treaty, Oct. 15, 2007. (Sharon Tiffin/Black Press)
Indigenous consent must come first and last for B.C. industrial projects

UN declaration seen as end to a history of horror stories

FILE  - In this Friday, Jan 1, 2021 file photo, a lorry driver's documents are scanned on a phone as he passes a checkpoint for the train through the Eurotunnel link with Europe in Folkestone, England. One month after Britain made a New Year split from the European Union's economic embrace, businesses that once traded freely are getting used to frustrating checks, delays and red tape. Meat exporters say shipments have rotted in trucks awaiting European health checks. Scottish fishermen have protested at Parliament over the catch they can no longer sell to the continent because of byzantine new paperwork. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
FINLAYSON: Government should focus on strengthening B.C.’s leading export industries

To revive the economy, this piece in the strategy is integral, writes Jock Finlayson

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ready for use at the vaccination center in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb.28, 2021. (Michael Reichel/dpa via AP)
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

The first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday

Most Read