Fire education moving online in response to COVID-19 pandemic

GUELPH-ERAMOSA – The Guelph-Eramosa fire department has been spreading its message of fire safety to Grade 4 and 5 students in the Rockwood area for years.

However, this year the department had to make some changes to its programming, says fire and life safety educator Mathew Williamson.

He said he wanted to find a way to continue the tradition of offering the lessons during the pandemic because children bring the information back to their parents and it makes the whole community more aware of the importance of fire safety.

“Our hope is that children are by default like a conduit to their families and parents … in all likelihood they’re going to be talking about it at the dinner table with mom and dad or whoever, and we give them homework,” Williamson said.

“Then it’s usually mom or dad or the caregiver that has to do that homework with their child so we’re getting it reinforced on a number of fronts.”

The fire department has set up a Google Classroom that has information on “home escape planning, home smoke alarms, developing a home escape plan with the family, what sound does a smoke alarm make, key messaging – like in the event of a fire, we even talk about things like where to go when there is smoke in a house,” said Williamson

Teachers can also reach out to the fire department to have firefighters talk to their classrooms over Zoom, said Williamson.