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Schools awarded for fire safety during deep freeze evacuation

THUNDER BAY -- Two local schools received high praise for their fire-safety commitment.
Fire Chief John Hay presents the Fire Safety Award to Pope John Paul II Senior Elementary School principal J.P. Tennier. (Kathleen Charlebois,

THUNDER BAY -- Two local schools received high praise  for their fire-safety commitment.

Fire Chief John Hay presented two School Fire Safety awards to Hyde Park Public School vice-principal Shannon Jessiman-MacArthur and Pope John Paul II Senior Elementary principal J.P. Tennier Tuesday.

The awards acknowledged both schools’ cold weather evacuations last December, when fire alarms forced students and teachers out into the freezing cold.

“I’m really honoured,” Jessiman-MacArthur said. “I think it’s important to keep our kids safe and I’m being recognized for doing just that.

Staff and students followed protocol on a really cold fire day and we were lucky to have our plans in place and everybody knew what to do.”

“It’s nice for our staff to be recognized and especially our students who did so well that day,” added Tennier.

Hay said the schools did the right thing in a difficult circumstance.

Tennier and MacArthur said both their respective schools ensure they have a fire safety plan in place and review it every year.

Tennier said his school will add cold weather provisions to their fire safety plan in case they are caught out in the cold in the future.

Hay suggests that all schools must submit a fire safety plan that must be reviewed yearly by the school and the principal. The schools are then expected to follow the plan and not make changes during fire drills.

“Most kids don’t put a high degree of thought into getting the fire drills done,” he said.

“We need to make sure that there’s opportunity for everybody to be safe if and when there is a fire in their school.”



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