Local FireSmart Representatives hosted a successful home safety bag giveaway at the South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Hall on May 22. (Ken Alexander photo)

Local FireSmart Representatives hosted a successful home safety bag giveaway at the South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Hall on May 22. (Ken Alexander photo)

Fire department’s safety bag giveaway a success

Ken Alexander: South Green Lake column

The South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department’s two Local FireSmart Representatives (LFRs) hosted a successful home safety bag giveaway, with combined smoke and CO alarms, on May 22 with a drive-through pickup event at the fire hall.

Local FireSmart representative Bob Bell – and I as the other rep – had a lot of help to make the event a success. We recently participated in a FireSmart Canada virtual workshop where we learned about the new FireSmart Neighbourhoods Program, which we feel would be a perfect fit for the South Green Lake community.

Bell and I believe the program, designed to encourage self-organized groups of residents to take the lead in implementing solutions for wildfire safety on their own land, would provide a good avenue to help area residents FireSmart their properties and buildings to reduce the risk of wildfire damage and loss.

There was an initial stumbling block for the South Green Lake community because there are significantly more property owners in the part-time and absentee category than there are in the full-time resident category.

However, the South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department (SGLVFD) received a gift – several combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms – from the Fire Chiefs Association, Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) and the Office of the Fire Commissioner. These were given out to South Green Lake community’s full- and part-time residents who don’t have hard-wired alarms in their homes and cabins.

The SGLVFD also received reusable bags full of home safety information as part of the giveaway package.

Due to the COVID-19 gathering restrictions, it was decided to hand out the home safety bags at a drive-thru event at the fire hall using safety protocols. Residents were asked to stay in their vehicles and the volunteers wore masks while volunteers gave out the disinfected bags of goodies.

The biggest issue was getting the information about the event out to all of South Green Lake’s property owners. However, FireSmart supporter SGLVFD Fire Chief Peter McKie worked with his contacts at the TNRD and it was determined the regional district could send a newsletter to all South Green Lake property owners.

The newsletter provided details of all of the work the SGLVFD had been doing to serve the South Green Lake community in recent years, as well as information about the FireSmart Neighbourhoods Program and a story about the Home Safety bags with alarms Drive-through pickup event.

It was brilliant as it helped us reach out all South Green Lake property owners.

Drive-thru event results

Volunteers handed out 77 alarms in two hours and they had the opportunity to talk about FireSmart with the people who dropped by to pick up their bags.

Property owners learned about the drive-thru event from several sources: a column in the 100 Mile House Free Press, the TNRD newsletter, word of mouth, Facebook posts, the Green Lake and Area Ratepayers Association newsletter and a post on the South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department website.

Property owners who couldn’t come to the pickup event due to COVID travel restrictions were able to have their Home Safety Bags put aside until they can pick them up. Others contacted their full-time South Green Lake friends and neighbours to keep their bags for them.

The LFRs also gave out 70 alarms prior to the May 22 event. All tolled, they have given away 147 alarms and home safety bags.

There is one more drive-thru pickup event from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the fire hall (546 Green Lake South Rd.) on July 31.

South Green Lake resident Kathy Traynor, who volunteered to help give out the home safety bags, will also take on the role as Neighbourhood Champion for South Green Lake’s first FireSmart Neighbourhood Program project. We expect this project to be completed this year.


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