Happy Valley elementary student Ollie Harris puts out a fire with the help of Colwood firefighter Scott Abrahamson. The demonstration was a part of this year’s Fire Safety Expo, which strives to educate kids on common hazards in and around the home. Joel Tansey/News Gazette staff

Fire safety skills can last for a lifetime, West Shore students learn

Colwood, Langford and Metchosin firefighters teach about home hazards, fire extinguisher use

If this week’s Fire Safety Expo is any indication, the future of West Shore firefighting is in good hands.

Grade 4 students from across the Sooke School District were given an opportunity to learn about common fire safety hazards around the home – in addition to bike and earthquake safety – while also trying their hand at firefighting by extinguishing a controlled blaze under the close supervision of West Shore fire crews.

The 21st annual event, which took place in and around the Metchosin fire hall, combines fun with an important education piece, noted Chris Aubrey, Assistant Fire Chief with the Langford Fire Department.

“There’s so many different life and skill sets that the kids are learning here that are going to keep them safe … it’s a great opportunity to educate a thousand kids in two days and it’s always a really successful event that the kids and I really enjoy,” he said.

For working an extinguisher, Colwood firefighter Scott Abrahamson teaches the students the PASS system; Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever and Sweep side to side.

“It’s an easy word that they can remember and it’s a good way for them to know how to use the extinguisher,” he said.

The event has proven to be such a hit that it has routinely garnered praise at provincial firefighting functions. But perhaps the biggest mark of success is the feedback the department gets many years after the fact, where individuals will escape a dangerous situation and cite the skills they were taught at the Fire Expo as a reason why.

“Our hope is that the skills that they learn today are skills that they can keep for their entire life,” Aubrey said.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Twitter:@joelgazette

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