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Discussing Safety with Kids

Recently we had our annual autumn hall tour with Joyce Vincelette’s MEP class from St-Thomas Aquinas. They usually visit us twice a year; once in the spring which is a “fun-day” complete with the hoses and a barbeque, and again in the fall which is an educational day dealing with basic fire safety topics. This year we changed things up a little by adding a quiz on fire safety topics, as I mentioned to Joyce; the results of the quiz would be more of a reflection on our program than that of her students. We do a similar type of quiz with all of the grade four classes each year during Fire Prevention Week, by tabulating the results of these quizzes we can see where we need to improve our program. We are very proud to announce that Joyce’s students did exceptionally well by answering on average; 13 out of 14 questions correctly. This result, we feel is in part due to the close relationship we maintain with these students, we try to balance fun with seriousness and looking at the results we must be doing something right. However, during this year’s quiz one question the students were asked was;

For what reasons would you go back into a burning house?

1) A pet

2) You never go back in a burning house.

3) A favorite toy

4) To retrieve money


Only one young student answered incorrectly and he said that he would go back in for his toys because he liked his toys. Even upon the insistence of the other students that he was wrong, he stuck with his answer. Upon hearing his answer I thanked him for answering the question honestly and we spent some time dealing with this topic. This question is one of the most difficult questions we have to deal with when presenting to children, and usually pets are the main focus. We are often asked by children if we will save their pets during a fire if they do leave them behind, and we always tell them that we will do our best to do so. However they must realize that people come first. As difficult as the topic may be we do encourage parents to broach this subject with their children when discussing fire safety. It is a difficult topic but necessary, you don’t want anything to delay anyone from escaping a home during a fire.


We don’t usually use this forum to deal with internal fire department topics however when exceptional circumstances arise I feel it is appropriate. When you join the Russell Fire Department as a firefighter your family also joins, and this is made extremely clear by all the members. Our chief often refers to this as your second family, and it doesn’t take very long to find out that this is the creed that the department lives by. Well as was mentioned in last week’s Villager; a member of “our family” Corporal Derek Murray is on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. All of the Russell Fire Department family awaits his safe return and extends these wishes to all the families of Russell who have loved ones in Afghanistan. Godspeed Derek, see you soon.

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