Fire safety stressed this week for Comox Valley children

Comox Valley kids and youth will learn about fire safety this week in recognition of Fire Prevention Week.

THIS STUDENT learned about fire safety during last year's Fire Prevention Week.

Comox Valley kids and youth will learn about fire safety this week in recognition of Fire Prevention Week.

Courtenay deputy fire chief Kurt MacDonald notes the fire safety house will visit Courtenay elementary schools throughout October so Grade 3 students can learn what to do if they are inside a burning building.

The Courtenay fire department also had a static display up at Home Depot on Saturday to teach the public how to be fire safe.

“It reminds the public,” MacDonald says of the annual education, which happens during Fire Prevention Week, from Oct. 6 to 12.

“Having the ability to remind people to be fire safe — whether it be with their kitchens or checking their smoke detectors or smoke alarms, or having a way out of the house, an escape route and things like that — having it recognized throughout the province is huge.”

Dubbed A Recipe for Fire Safety, this year’s campaign focuses on preventing kitchen fires. The website www.safeathome.ca features an array of fire safety information, such as the importance of having an escape plan and working smoke alarms, and how to teach kids about fire safety.

MacDonald points out kids themselves are great teachers, hence the importance of the fire safety house school visits.

“They’re the best teachers of everybody because after they’ve gone through the fire safety house, it’s usually the highlight of the week for them,” continues MacDonald. “And when they go home and their parents ask them, ‘How was your day at school?’ that’s the first thing that comes out of their mouth.

“One of the things that we really emphasis with the kids is to go home and check your smoke detectors, so because they’re so excited about what they did, they really tend to remind the parents vigorously to go ahead and do it right now.”

Meanwhile, the Comox fire hall will hold its annual open house Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fire chief Gord Schreiner says fire safety information will be on display. Plus, the public will have a chance to tour the fire hall and check out fire fighting equipment.

The Comox fire department takes the fire safety house out to the schools in the spring instead of the October, and Schreiner points out fire safety education happens throughout the year.

Schreiner adds fire fighters go door-to-door to check Comox residents’ smoke alarms, and if they don’t have a working one, fire fighters will install them free of charge. New this year, he says residents can call the fire hall at 250-339-2432 and make an appointment to have one installed.

“In the last couple months we’ve installed free smoke alarms in 150 homes in Comox,” he says, noting early warning of a fire often means it can easily be put out by residents, and late warning can mean a damaged home, injuries to occupants or worse. “Boy, they can sure make a difference … A smoke alarm costs about $10 — that’s why we’re so adamant that we will give them away if need be to make sure people have them.”

Cumberland fire chief Mike Williamson says the safety house will visit Cumberland Elementary School later this month to teach the Grade 3 students how to be safe in a fire. Wednesday, the fire hall will host students from Cumberland Junior Secondary School, who will learn about fire safety via  a video and question and answer period. A tour of the fire hall, including the fire trucks, will follow.

“I can’t believe the intelligent questions these kids ask,” says Williamson, as he notes annual fire safety education seems to be working. “They know stop, drop and roll, how to check their smoke alarms, and they know about a fire safety plan, and it’s actually really amazing how much they know nowadays — I was really impressed with them last year.”

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

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