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Local teacher receives fire safety award

by Kelly Waterhouse

MOUNT FOREST - When the fire alarm rings in the hallways of Victoria Cross Public School in Mount Forest, grade 2 students in Melody Elvidge’s class will know what to do. 

That’s because Elvidge has ensured all grade 2 classes participate in a fire safety unit, a program she has run for the last several years.

On Oct. 26 she was acknowledged for that work as one of 19 recipients of the Ontario Fire Safety awards recognizing outstanding contributions to fire safety in Ontario. 

“I realized that when we have fire drills in our school, some of the children became very afraid,” Elvidge said. 

“But I always tell the children that when they know what to do, they know how to stay safe. Once they learn, they will know how to be safe. I want the children to feel empowered, to know they can handle the situation and get to safety, so they don’t need to be too afraid to act.”

Elvidge uses a variety of lessons to get the message across to her young audience.

“We do fire safety lessons and watch videos,” she said. “And they have a little project where [they] take home and create their family’s fire escape plan.

“We talk a lot about fire prevention too, because it’s important.”

Working with Wellington North fire prevention officer Jason Benn, Elvidge coordinates a tour for grade 2 students to the Mount Forest fire hall.

“The children love going to the fire hall to get a full tour,” she said. “If the children have completed a home fire escape plan, they are then presented with a Smoke Detective badge of honour.”

 “I was surprised to be nominated,” Elvidge said. “Jason Benn approached my school’s principal and some of my colleagues and they sent in a nomination.”

The award was handed out by Ontario Fire Marshal Ted Wieclawek during a recent gala in Toronto.

“It was nice to receive recognition for teaching fire safety, and I hope that it will potentially save a life down the line if my students ever encounter a fire situation,” said Elvidge, whose teaching career has spanned 25 years.

She plans to keep fire safety as part of her curriculum, calling it “a great experience for students in our community.”



November 11, 2011


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