Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fire Prevention Week Kick-Off 2011, RMWB

There are many things I love about this community, and I think one I love the most is how engaged some of our local services are with the residents. One of the best examples of this has to be the Fort McMurray Fire Fighters and Emergency Services. In addition to the pancake breakfast and open house they hosted earlier this summer they also just did  an event for the kick-off of the 2011 Fire Prevention Week - and people, I'm so appreciative of their efforts.

I think most of us know that we've had some house fires in Fort Mac this year. I think most of us know that these fires are often entirely preventable, and that the loss of property (and, sadly, sometimes even life) can be avoided by being aware of the risks and hazards. The timing of the fire prevention week event seemed very opportune since we have had these fires recently, and while many of the activities at the event were aimed at children we can all use reminders about how to prevent fires.

Saturday afternoon one of the Intrepid Junior Bloggers and I headed down to MacDonald Island to check out the Fire Prevention Week Kick Off activities - and free BBQ. The free food is a great idea, of course, as food is a primary draw for many people and when you offer free food for everyone AND activities for the kids families will come - and come they did on Saturday.

I was delighted to see the fire departments from most of the oil sands sites had also sent out employees and equipment to be seen and used in the event. I recall when my daughter was very small. She was always delighted at being able to sit inside a huge fire truck. I recall her grin very clearly, and I saw a lot of those grins on Saturday.

There were a lot of things for the kids to do and see - fire trucks and quads, snow mobiles and the fire safety house. There were displays that I think spoke to adults, too, like the ATCO one showing the dangers of overhead power lines. That little display always makes me think because power lines are one of the things I never really give much thought to, but know that on occasion are blown down in storms. How would I handle encountering a live power line that had come down during a storm? It's those kind of reminders that even adults need, I think, because it's not always the day-to-day situations that represent dangers but those that are unusual.

One of the things about kids is that they notice things that adults often miss. I recall when my daughter was younger and she came home from school on a day they'd had a fire safety presentation. They'd talked about emergency escape plans, and she pointed out that she didn't think we'd ever discussed this - and she was right. So, we sat down and devised an escape plan should there ever be a fire - who would exit where, who would responsible for making sure everyone got out - and then when we moved into a new house this was one of the first discussions we had. We have a fire escape plan, and it was initiated by a six year old. I think that's why aiming so many of these events at children is a good idea. Adults can get a bit jaded, and often have so much on their plates that things like devising an escape plan or talking about "stop drop and roll" get overlooked. But children, well, children love to talk about and tackle ideas like this. It's also something they can contribute to, and it truly empowers them.

The local mascots were out in full force, too, and you may notice there are no photos of the Intrepid Junior Blogger and I with them. While I appreciate the mascots and know kids love them I must admit the Junior Blogger and I share an abject fear of the mascot kind(let me tell you, people, Disney World was hell for one particular blogger).

(Okay, not a mascot, but I warned him 
this was going in the blog!)

So, there you have Fire Prevention Week Kick-Off 2011 in Fort Mac. My kudos go to everyone involved, and my thanks. To all the firefighters, emergency personnel, volunteers, sponsors, and yes, even mascots, thank you for engaging our community once again. Thank you for making fire prevention a priority, and thank you for providing a lovely fall afternoon BBQ and event for the local residents. Most of all, though, thank you for everything you do every day of every year to keep us safe. On today, Thanksgiving, I give thanks to all of you for being the ones who run into buildings to save lives when everyone else is running out. Thank you for risking your own precious lives for ours. Thank you for being true local heroes. You have my eternal gratitude and respect - and I think all of Fort Mac joins me in that, too.

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