Saint John was the launch pad for Fire Prevention Week in New Brunswick, which officially gets underway on Sunday.
This year’s international slogan is “Look, Listen and Learn.”
“Look where a fire could happen,” said Michael Lewis acting New Brunswick fire marshal. “Listen. Listen for the smoke and learn. Learn aspects of your home that are going to improve your fire safety in the event of an emergency.”
Saint John Fire Chief Kevin Clifford told the hundreds of young people gathered at Bayside Middle School the power and influence they yield in teaching fire safety at home. He shared a real-life story of a young person who implemented a fire safety plan at home after visiting the fire department’s Fire Safety House.
“About two or three weeks later, they had to execute that fire safety plan when they had a structure fire and the family was found on the top of the garage, which was one of their exits,” Clifford said.
Fire safety should be top of mind everywhere, but in Saint John it might hold a little extra significance.
The city has been besieged by suspicious fires in vacant buildings, the latest just over two weeks ago. There is a fear that someday, one of these fires may strike a home that is occupied.
That’s why officials say what’s learned by these children is the best possible adoption of good fire safety practices.
“The world that children live in nowadays is safer than the world that we grew up in and safer than the world their parents grew up in as well,” Lewis explained. “The reason for that is because young people are such good fire prevention individuals.”
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Basics such as smoke detector protocol is one thing that has to be driven home.
“We should talk to our parents a lot and tell them to like remind them to replace the smoke alarms and how to stay safe in a fire,” said Grade 6 student Letitia Graves.
“If you don’t, it could be broken and a fire could go off and you would never know,” added Grade 6 student Kaden Cameron.
Students also took in some of the new information passed along.
“I didn’t really know that it’s such an important thing to not stay near your food while it’s cooking,” said student Ella Sherwood.
Fire Prevention Week activities will be held in various communities next week.
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