2012-10-09 at 13:18
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Brooklynn White thinks every family should have a fire plan for their home.
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The 12-year-old on Monday said it’s important that everyone should know how to get out of their house if a fire strikes, one of the reasons she was so eager to take part in a series of prevention videos with her Grade 8 classmates at Bishop E.Q. Jennings School.
Several of the multimedia presentations were premiered for Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue Service officials and Mayor Keith Hobbs, the kick-off to fire prevention week in the city.
“You could die if you don’t know how to get out and I think it’s really important,” Brooklynn said, adding most of her classmates are well-versed in what to do in case of fire.
Her video presented three potential situations and suggested how people might survive if any of the scenarios arose.
“One’s in a bathroom, one’s in your room and one’s in your kitchen,” she said. “Basically you just try to find the quickest and safest way to get out.”
Bishop E.Q. Jennings principal Pepe Garieri said their duty to the safety of students extends well beyond the walls of the school, which is why they took on the challenge.
And the message might stick with a hands-on approach.
“It’s better to learn hands-on when you’re creating something than to be told about it. So I thought if they can get involved and create something and teach others, let them be the teachers, they’re going to retain more and learn more, maybe take it home with them.”
Fire Chief John Hay, who announced “Have two ways out” as the theme of this year’s fire prevention week, said it was a great opportunity for kids to show the rest of the community a positive message on a subject not everyone takes seriously enough.
Hay, who offered up the fire training centre for future video efforts, said children are the best ambassadors for fire safety in the home.
“They’re very clear about right and wrong, about things like that and when they go home, it’s hard to argue with them,” Hay said, noting often parents will argue about simple things, like changing the battery in a smoke detector.
“The kids know it’s gotta go in now, and we appreciate that.”
The city as a whole is getting the message, he added.
It’s been about five years since they changed their approach to fire prevention and got much more aggressive in enforcing the laws, which state there must be a smoke detector on every level of a home and outside sleeping areas.
“We actually have a compliance rate of smoke detectors of over 80 per cent, which is the highest that I’ve found in the province,” Hay said.
“People are smart. People recognize the danger of fire. We see it in Thunder Bay far too often, the loss of life, the loss of property here in Thunder Bay. We’re trying to eliminate that. We’re trying to get it to zero.”
Tips provided by firefighters included assessing the needs of everyone in the home, identifying those who need assistance getting out when fire does occur; ensuring everyone knows – and heeds – the sound of a smoke alarm; practicing your home fire escape plan and identifying a safe meeting place outside.
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