FIREFIGHTERS GET A REFRESHER ON HOW TO TALK TO YOUNG KIDS ABOUT FIRE SAFETY
By Dan Blakeley
We’re told at an early age not to play with matches. But curiosity still gets the better of many pre-schoolers who wind up lighting fires in the home – in their bedrooms, in closets. Firefighters from across Ontario gathered in Barrie recently to get a refresher on how to get the fire safety message through to young children.
Dr Robert Cole of Fireproof Children telling them pre-schoolers are responsible for a surprising number of fires.
“The problem with pre-school children is…because they have such a poor understanding of the risk, they take far greater risks and much and are much more likely to start a fire inside a house, inside a closet, in their bedroom than older children who understand. They [the older childen] may also play but [think] we better not do this inside, we’re going out to the sidewalk”
Cole also had a reminder about the dangers inherent with this time of year with space heaters working overtime and loose articles being left close to them, candles being lit for holiday celebrations and added cooking and baking.
How do you impress the ‘play safe, be safe’ message on young minds? Laura King, Canadian Education representative with the National Fire Protection Association told the group to focus on one message at a time.
“Lots of repetition, learning through play, learning through having fun and making sure that the messages are simple and easily understood by that age group.”
King went on to say it’s also important to teach children that firefighters are community helpers; that they are not to be feared just because they’re wearing a uniform.
King had kudos for Barrie Firefighters who interact with children on a regular basis through initiatives such as fire safety messages produced with TVOntario and their annual Hot Summer Nights events around the city.