June 7, 2013, Aurora, Ont. – The nine municipalities that make up York Region in Ontario teamed up to put together a junior firefighter day for 54 grade-three students, as part of the region’s fire protection strategy.
Six students from each municipality were chosen based on their submission of either a short essay or a poster that incorporated at least three of the eight Risk Watch safety components: motor vehicle safety, fire and burn prevention, choking, suffocation and strangulation prevention, poisoning prevention, falls prevention, firearms injury prevention, bike and pedestrian safety, and water safety.
“The kids are participating in a day of both education and fun,” explained Shanyn Godward, the public educator for Richmond Hill Fire & Emergency Services.
“They get to experience a little bit of what our firefighters would do on a regular day,” said Godward. “They’re doing search and rescue, they’re doing a combat challenge, they’re learning how to use fire extinguishers – all kinds of fun stuff. And they even get to ride in the fire truck.”
The students, with their firefighter chaperones, rotated through nine stations, which, in addition to search and rescue, the combat challenge and learning to use a fire extinguisher, included first aid, ropes and knots, a game of safety jeopardy, fire-hose target practice, fire-truck inspections, and a rotation during which they learned about how fire, EMS and police services work together.
The day is a testament to the fire prevention and education efforts of the nine fire departments in the region. A committee was formed to plan the event, which was hosted at the Richmond Hill Operations Centre. Because of the level of participation, each department was able to bring something unique to the rotations, like the Township of King Fire & Emergency Services’ miniature fire truck.
Godward said that the Richmond Hill department had been doing a similar event for many years, and that expanding it to from one department and a handful of students to nine departments and more than 50 students didn’t take much more work.
Plus, with so many more parents accompanying their children, the fire-prevention message can spread even further.
“It’s really the first line of defence, teaching these kids at a young age what they can do to help their families stay safe,” Godward said.
“We teach the kids in the schools when they’re really, really young so that they take those messages with them as they grow up.”
For more photos from the York Region Junior Firefighter Day, visit out Facebook page.
Nine Ontario departments co-host junior firefighter day
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