Chilliwack firehall shares messages of safety this season

Advent calendar idea snowballs into community Tweeting project

Mayor Sharon Gaetz was one of the first community members to sit down to deliver a special holiday safety message at the Chilliwack Firehall. Her message and others are being shared on social media as reminders to the public to have a safe holiday.

Mayor Sharon Gaetz was one of the first community members to sit down to deliver a special holiday safety message at the Chilliwack Firehall. Her message and others are being shared on social media as reminders to the public to have a safe holiday.

Chilliwack’s firefighters want everyone to have a safe Christmas, and they’re counting down the ways to make it happen through a series of online videos.

They’re calling the advent calendar-inspired series 24 Days of Holiday Fire Safety, and they’ve reached out to the community to help share the message. Guests have been coming into the hall, sitting by the Christmas tree, and reading one of the 24 tips. The videos are then uploaded, just one per day, to the Chilliwack Fire Department’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The hope is that the community will see the short little videos and share them on their own social media.

Getting holiday safety messages out each year are an important part of the public education portion of the firehall, says Lisa Axelson, the department’s Fire Prevention Officer.

“We wanted it to be quick, easy and mindful,” she says.

While some of the tips may seem obvious — keep your tree watered, keep children away from hot surfaces and stoves, for example — Axelson says even the most conscientious people make mistakes.

“We get too busy,” she says. “We’re a very busy community.”

So getting those tips out once a day, just one at a time, is a great way to keep safety top of mind through what can be the busiest time of year.

The list of community volunteers who have been filmed so far include Chief Ian Josephson, Mayor Sharon Gaetz, the BIA’s Harold Zinke, and even The Chilliwack Progress’ Jenna Hauck. They also had people from Bowls of Hope, the City of Chilliwack, RCMP, Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Program, city councillors, and so many more.

The idea is one that “snowballed” from a desire to really decorate the firehall this year. Each Christmas, the City of Chilliwack has a decorating contest for municipal offices, and last year, the firehall didn’t fare so well.

“We decided we wanted to put in a little more effort this year,” Axelson says, “and the Chief thought it was a fabulous idea.”

Axelson decided to create an advent calendar with safety tips, and eventually they were calling up their closest contacts to help deliver their messages.

“We connected with all these people we deal with on a regular basis,” she says.

Each guest is invited to read a message, but also deliver their own personal message from their organization.

Gaetz reminded people to “treecycle” at the end of the season, courtesy of the city. But she also was enjoying a hot cup of mulled apple cider with Santa Claus in her video, in memory of the late Capt. Don Van Beest, another fire prevention officer.

The cider is an annual treat Van Beest would share with the hall, and they continue to serve it up at Christmas time.

“It’s just warmed apple juice with spices, but it’s a thing we do and he shared his recipe with us,” Axelson says.

To see more tips, visit the Chilliwack Fire Department’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, or search  #chwk24daysofholidaysafety on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vedder Park area where alcohol consumption was part of a pilot project in 2020. (City of Chilliwack)
Hundreds weighed in with opinions on alcohol consumption in Chilliwack parks

Pilot project in two Chilliwack parks last summer saw responsible drinking in designated areas

Russell Jonathon George Gurney was last seen in Chilliwack in mid-December. (RCMP photo)
RCMP ask for help to find missing Abbotsford man last seen in Chilliwack

Police and family are concerned for the well-being of Russell Jonathon George Gurney

In this photo illustration, a provincial election mail-in ballot sealed in an Elections B.C. return envelope is seen before being deposited in a Canada Post mailbox, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. For the Chilliwack school board byelection being held Feb. 13, 2020, mail ballots will now be a part of the process. (The Canadian Press/ Darryl Dyck)
Mail ballots approved for Chilliwack school board byelection

Applications to vote by mail need to be submitted to city by Jan. 28

Leonard Hodgins released his seven-song EP, A Date, with Disaster, on Jan. 4, 2021. (Submitted)
‘Silver lining’ to pandemic as Chilliwack musician finds inspiration, releases new album

Leonard Hodgins released his EP ‘A Date, with Disaster’ at the beginning of 2021

Preliminary artist rendering by Karvin Developments for three-lot subdivision on Berkeley Avenue. (City of Chilliwack/Karvin)
Subdivision proposal for three new homes on Berkeley Avenue goes through

Developer agrees to two-storey height limit on homes proposed for large lot over slough

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Most Read