Fire safety message hits home with students

Firefighter inspector Lisa Axelson teaches a Grade 2 class about fire safety during an educational trip to Robertson elementary as part of Burn Awareness Week on Wednesday. - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS
Firefighter inspector Lisa Axelson teaches a Grade 2 class about fire safety during an educational trip to Robertson elementary as part of Burn Awareness Week on Wednesday.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

Ms. Lowe’s Grade 2 class at Robertson Elementary was the excited audience for a lesson in home safety from Chilliwack firefighters Wednesday.

But it’s the parents who will likely get an earful from the six- and seven-year-old students when they get home.

“If you empower the children, they all go home and make sure mom and dad follow the rules - and they’re really strict about them,” Chilliwack Firefighter Andrew Brown said.

It appears some parents could probably use a refresher in home and fire safety, if the response of one little girl in Ms. Lowe’s class is any indication.

Asked whether a BBQ lighter was a tool or a toy - tools are not to be played with - the little girl correctly identified it as a tool, but unfortunately thought it was used to light cigarettes.

There’s one parent who will likely be in for a stern reprimand.

But all 19 youngsters were surprisingly safety-conscious, correctly identifying all kinds of dangers in the kitchen, the bedroom and bathroom, during the half-hour lesson ably presented by the Chilliwack fire department’s Lisa Axelson - assisted by Harry the Hydrant.

“We are wanting to help you guys ... be a little safer at home and be a little bit more responsible for your safety,” Axelson said.

Are candles safe?

Not in your bedroom, and especially not left in the window.

“Curtains and all that,” Axelson explained.

The students also learned how to treat a burn, not by using cold water, but by using cool water, to avoid further tissue damage.

“You want to use cool water to cool the burn down s-l-o-w-l-y,” Axelson explained.

And skip the “gooey stuff,” she added, so the burn area is “nice and cool and dry.”

The safety presentation at Robertson, which included a visit by two firetrucks, was the kick-off to five more that will be held at Chilliwack elementary schools during Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 6-12.

The Chilliwack firefighters are also donating $6,000 to the B.C. Professional Firefighters’ Association burn fund that helps send young burn survivors to a summer camp.

The funds were raised through sales of a calendar by the Chilliwack firefighters, who have volunteered their time putting together the school safety presentations over the past 15 years.

“We feel it’s important to educate kids about their safety,” Brown said.

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