Our Place Preschool and Child Care Centre, visited the 100 Mile House Fire Rescue department’s Fire Hall on Oct. 26, with ten kids aged from three to five making the trip as part of Fire Prevention week which ran earlier in the month.
Fire Prevention week is all about educating the public, particularly younger generations, on the importance of safety and how to prevent fires. It also encourages families to come up with an escape plan in case there is a fire.
“We’ve been doing fire prevention week at our centre so we came up here for a field trip,” said Brittany McCausland, owner of Our Place Preschool and Child Care Centre.
The ten preschoolers were in fine form, watching in awe as Brandon Bougie, deputy chief, showed them the tools of his trade, including the ever-popular firetrucks.
“They went in and out of the fire truck, which is usually their highlight of the tour,” said Bougie.
Despite the children’s excitement to get into the trucks, their eagerness to learn about fire safety wasn’t lost on the deputy chief, who has been with the department for nine years and deputy for one and a half of those years.
“They had a couple fire-related questions. They’ve been practising their fire escape plans, so they were actually quite well versed in what to do for children of that age,” he said.
In fact, the students have been receiving homework on the subject according to McCausland.
“The families have to show us what their escape plan for getting out of their house safely is,” she said, adding the students and their families need to make sure they have working fire alarms and smoke detectors.
According to the Coroners Service of British Columbia report, Residential Structure Fire Deaths in BC, 2007-2011, 164 people lost their lives in 135 residential fires between 2007 and 2011 in the province, with an average of 32.8 deaths in 27 fires annually. While the average age of victims between those years was 52.1, 14 people under 19 were killed, it is still noted children under five are at a higher risk of death and injury from home fires than any other age group except adults over 65.
Starting to teach the children while they are around the age of when the risk is highest can only be a good thing, according to Bougie.
“The sooner you can teach them to be safe in their own home, they grow up with it and carry it on into the future. So, it’s extremely important to start at a young age,” said Bougie, who explained he also enjoyed doing the safety tours.
“I like giving that safety message to the kids and speaking to the different age groups. It’s funny how you really have to change your talk.”
Firefighter Morgan Thomas was also on hand to guide the young preschoolers around the department.
“I love it,” he said.”I love seeing kids smile and watching them play around on the firetruck. I really do appreciate being part of this. Kids are our future.”