How do we stop kids from setting fires? Educators learn ‘best practices’ in Barrie


How do we stop kids from setting fires? Educators learn ‘best practices’ in Barrie.

BAR play safe_Super_Portrait How do we stop kids from setting fires? Educators learn ‘best practices’ in Barrie Kids’ play leads to 49,300 fires across the United States every year

Play safe! Be safe!

Fire safety lessons can and should begin at an early age.

That’s the message experts on-hand for a play safe! be safe! campaign workshop had for about 60 educators and emergency service personnel at Liberty North banquet hall in Barrie Nov. 15. Firefighters from across the province attended to learn techniques for teaching kids in Grade 1 and younger the best ways to prevent fires.

“It’s about working together,” Barrie Fire and Emergency Service Deputy Chief Jeff Weber said. “This is an opportunity for our public educators to gather together and look at best practices. We save lives by educating the public first, inspecting second and putting out fires third. Public education is a really significant point.”

Barrie Fire was one of the first departments to embrace the campaign in Ontario, and has utilized training material for the last several years, he said.

Kids’ play leads to 49,300 fires across the United States each year. Of those, 7,700 occur in a home setting and more than 12 per cent lead to injury or death. More than 50 per cent of children experiment with matches or lighters by the age of 13, University of Rochester Medical Center School of Nursing’s Robert Cole, who led the workshop, said.

Since the campaign’s introduction in 1994, nearly 120,000 fire safety kits have been distributed, and workshops have taken place throughout North America, he said.

Specifically geared toward safety educators, teachers, daycare providers, and other community agencies, the workshop uses statistics gathered by America’s National Fire Protection Agency to give participants a better understanding of how young children understand and react to fire.

“Our overriding goal for the program is to reduce fire play for children to reduce injuries and deaths,” Cole said. “It seems simple and obvious, but if we’re going to do that … it requires a more comprehensive and thoughtful approach. We’re teaching behaviour and skill that encourages them to follow through. It’s more than just going in and sharing information. This really could happen to you; it could happen to anyone.”

For more information on the workshop, visit playsafebesafe.com. Further details on fire prevention can be found at barrie.ca.

See the story on simcoe.com here.