June 20, 2013 - 2:56 PM
KAMLOOPS - The Kamloops Fire Department is teaching fire safety to children in a new way—with the aid of an inflatable bouncy house.
Life safety officer Sheldon Guertin says they started using the fire safety house at events around the city at the end of April and after eight events more than 1,000 people had already gone through the house.
Crews still focus on teaching children to stop, drop and roll, to crawl under the smoke and to not touch matches, but the house offers a new option to interact with children. As the kids go through the house, firefighters will point out fire safety notes on the walls and talk about what they mean. At the end of the house the kids go down a big inflatable fire engine slide attached to the house.
Guertin says the amount of information the kids retain is surprising and truly feels the house is a great teaching tool.
“We would take the students through one time and then the second time we would point out different things in the house,” he said of a recent school event. “When we asked questions at the end I was amazed by how much they retained.”
On average about 150 kids have gone through the house at a single event though one event saw about 250. Earlier this month crews set up the house in the Pacific Way School gym for two days. Teachers were able to sign up their class to spend some time going over fire safety in the gym and in total about 200 students participated, Guertin says.
The fire safety house cost $25,000, including shipping to Canada and it was another $7,000 for the trailer to haul the inflatable house around. Guertin says the house and trailer are 100 per cent community supported by personal and corporate donations varying from $200 to $10,000.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013