It was another successful year at the Family Safety Day event, which is held by the Fernie Fire Department. The day coincides with fire prevention week, a national event that aims to promote fire safety and knowledge. This years campaign is, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” which marks the third, and final year of efforts to educate the public on the essential elements of smoke alarm safety.
The Free Press spoke with assistant event coordinator and auxiliary fire fighter for the Fernie Fire Department, Elizabeth Allitt about the event.
“My Chief at the fire hall - Ted Ruiter approached me one day and asked if I would be interested in assisting him with a Family Safety Day - without a second thought, I said yes. Fake it till you make it they say. I'd never organized an event but I knew if I was the organizer I could make it exactly how I wanted it, which is every girl’s dream,” she said. “Not to mention the brownie points it would earn me if it went well, and the condolences if it didn't.”
According to Allitt, the event is aimed to make the community safer.
“In line with Fire Prevention Week, Family Safety Day is an event aimed at making our community a safer one starting from the ground up - the children,” she said. “Teaching them to be fire smart, and safety smart with a lot of excitement in between to keep them interested, and some demonstrations to scare them straight - don't use your phones and drive kids - adults for that matter, be prepared and understand what to do in an emergency because time is all you have in those events and it really can be the difference between life and death.”
While this is not the frist year of the event, it is the first year that Allitt has had a hand in organizing.
“The event was for everyone; involved in this event were people from all over the valley, I had some really amazing human beings getting their hands dirty to help me pull this all together,” she said. Some of the learning curves in the organizing for Allitt were, “accidentally emailing Teck in Vancouver was a huge light in a confusing time, opening up resources that I'd never imagined - Karin Greenlees and Kate McCallum playing a huge role in helping me achieve this as well as my right hand man Coco Robinson who volunteered a lot of his 'parental' leave time to instead help parent me when I just wasn't sure how to go about this.”
Many of the Elk Valley’s fire departments held events or activites over the week, ranging from open houses that invited community members to come to fire halls where they could meet local firefighters and see their gear, trucks and facilities to fire truck unveilings.