Published on October 05, 2013
Five-year-old Ashton Barlow learns how to use a fire hose with North River firefighter Bobby Mitchell during a fire safety and prevention event held in Charlottetown Saturday. National Fire Prevention Week runs from Sunday, Oct. 6 to Saturday, Oct. 12.
Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
Published on October 05, 2013
Eight-year-old Bella Schroeter, center, and her younger sister Lexi, 6, take a ride in a mini fire truck with Charlottetown firefighter Todd Bannister during a fire safety and prevention event held in the city Saturday. National Fire Prevention Week runs from Sunday, Oct. 6 to Saturday, Oct. 12. Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
Fire safety prevention and awareness was made fun for children and their parents in Charlottetown this weekend.
The Metro Fire Prevention Association, which is comprised of volunteers from the Charlottetown, Crossroads and North River Fire Departments, held a safety and awareness session at Home Depot on Buchanan Drive Saturday.
The day, which was a kick-off for National Fire Prevention Week running from Oct. 6–12, was also held in cooperation with Roxul and the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council. It was one of many similar community events being held across Canada this weekend.
Cindy MacFayden, Charlottetown’s fire prevention officer, said the session was important for children, who had the opportunity to meet firefighters and get in the trucks while also learning information about smoke alarms and escape plans.
“This way, what they see here they take with them and they can put a little bit of practice in at home,” she said. “Kids learn by fun, so it’s always interesting to make it fun. That way, when they’re spraying the hose they’ll walk away remembering that forever. Getting in the fire truck, these little fellas remember that forever.”
Some firefighters were dressed in gear to get kids familiarized with seeing the uniforms in case they’re ever in an emergency situation.
“We try to get the kids associated with them and explain to them that you can’t hide or be afraid of firefighters,” she said. “If there’s a fire, you have to listen to the firefighters.”
That was likely the case for eight-year-old Bella Schroeter and her six-year-old sister Lexi.
The two Charlottetown sisters were having a blast riding in a mini fire truck while at the event with their father Richard.
Schroeter said he took his daughters to the event because he felt it’s important to see both the people and equipment used to keep individuals safe.
“Little kids sometimes get afraid of these things (the fire trucks),” he said. “Of course it’s a good idea, we use taxpayer dollars to have these so it’s also nice to see them get showcased.
“And more awareness is always good.”
Schroeter said letting kids use a small fire hose to fight a fake fire or ride in a truck also gives them some hands-on experience.
“It might spark something in their imagination to someday become a firefighter or officer,” he said.
While many had gone to the event after hearing about it, others were drawn in while they were driving by.
Raymond Collicutt took his five-year-old son Ashton Barlow to learn some fire safety tips when he noticed the unexpected setup.
“I was just driving by and saw it,” said Collicutt.
MacFayden left those who attended with a piece of potentially life-saving advice.
“We want everybody too please take a moment and check their smoke alarms to make sure they’re working,” she said. “Test the alarm for life, add a couple more to your home just to be extra cautious and to get that alertness so you can get out faster (in the case of a fire).”
The event also saw participation from Island EMS and Charlottetown Police.
The Metro Fire Prevention Association is a group of volunteers from North River, Crossroads and Charlottetown Fire Departments that meet on a regular basis in order to promote and enhance fire prevention.