Colwood firefighter Scott Abrahamson helps Sangster elementary student Mia Dayson operate a fire extinguisher at the Fire and Life Safety Expo at Metchosin fire hall last week.

West Shore students gain valuable life safety skills

Special guest chats with kids at annual Fire and Life Safety Expo

B.C.’s Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon acknowledged the significance of the 20th anniversary of the Fire and Life Safety Expo on Tuesday.

She welcomed students from elementary schools across the West Shore to the two-day event at the Metchosin Volunteer Fire Department, which has long taught safety to Grade 3 and 4 students.

Guichon lauded the efforts of the Metchosin, Colwood, Langford, Sooke and Highlands fire departments and the RCMP for staging the exposition, which has passed along valuable information on safety to more than 15,000 students during the past decade.

“It makes me realize how important it is to have a safety expo like this,” she told a crowd of students from Crystal View, Happy Valley and Sangster elementaries. “It’s such a great idea to have all these students learn hands-on life skills and the importance of knowing how to operate fire extinguishers, having an exit strategy and earthquake preparedness. These are invaluable lifelong skills.”

The children moved from station to station as if practising a well-executed fire drill, covering topics such as EDITH (Exit Drills in the Home); Bear Aware; fire extinguisher use; home fire safety; Stop, Drop and Roll; Home Alone safety; RCMP and fire dispatch 911 information and earthquake preparedness.

Langford Fire Rescue assistant chief Chris Aubrey said more than 900 kids are taking part in this year’s Safety Expo, including students from Sangster, Ruth King, Crystal View, Lakewood, John Stubbs, Colwood, Hans Helgesen, Happy Valley, Saseenos, Poirier, David Cameron and Wishart elementaries.

Kerry Zado, who retired from Langford Fire Rescue in 2014, was one of the many volunteers assisting with the exposition.

He said a young woman in Langford recently avoided a major incident because she remembered how to deal with a fire on the stove at a safety expo she attended as a young student in Langford.

“It’s important to pay attention and learn as much as you can here today,” Zado told the students. “What you learn today will help you for the rest of your life.”

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