Grade 3 students eagerly listened to training officer Brendan Morgan last Thursday morning as he presented a fire safety demonstration to the Fernie Academy classroom.
The demonstration is just one of four fun, interactive lessons in the annual Learn not to Burn program.
The program runs for four consecutive weeks, with Grade 3 students at the Fernie Academy and Isabella Dicken Elementary School learning how to call for emergency assistance, how to make an escape plan and where to store lighters and matches.
“When you get these children learning about fire safety early then it’s carried on through,” Morgan said. “It’s actually quite amazing how we take for granted that kids should know certain things that are safe and are not. I think to get them nice and early is key.”
Morgan said that some of the safety tips they teach the Grade 3 students are things adults are typically deterred from doing, such as pulling fire alarms. In fact, last year during the Fernie Academy’s annual fire drill, Morgan set up a smoke machine in the hallway in order to imitate a real fire, but teachers still ran past the fire alarm without pulling it.
“It’s in our mentality that we don’t do that [pull a fire alarm],” Morgan noted. “We teach the kids that, if it is a fire, pull the alarm.”
He also teaches Grade 3 students in Fernie not to be afraid to phone 9-1-1 in case of an emergency and to ensure the children set up a proper home escape plan in the event of a fire.
“For us, the most important thing is for the kids actually to teach their parents how to take care of a home escape plan,” Morgan said.
The program is also catered to kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 children, as they were given a one-day demonstration earlier this week. The Grade 3 program will conclude with three children, who demonstrate excellent fire safety skills being appointed fire chief for the day and getting a chance to ride around in the fire truck on October 27.