Regina students learn the consequences of fire
SGI Canada and Regina Fire and Protective Services have honed in on a key element in fighting fire – connecting with kids.
Police and Fire Fighters sat back and watched at Albert Community School on Tuesday as grade six and seven students they’ve trained, led their peers through some life saving lessons.
Lindsay Tolley is the community relations officer for the fire department. He likes to start his time with the students by asking who has witnessed fire and getting a show of hands.
Comments like those from Talon Clark in grade six often follow.
“I know a couple of people who’ve set fires,” he said.
In fact back in 2003 the problem was reaching an alarming number.
“We were plagued in the city by over 700 garbage fires”, said Regina Fire’s public education officer Candice Liskowich.
“Those are generally set by kids ages seven, eight, nine, ten”.
In 2011 there were just over 300 similar fires. Liskowich believes programs just like the one at Albert Community School can take much of the credit for a turn around.
Much of the talk was about consequences. To a kid like Talon what stands out in his mind are the pictures he has seen of burns.
“You can see all the charred skin… we learned about third degree, second degree and first degree,” he said.
Tolley says learning the about arson and what is at stake is important.
“It could be probation, it could be foster care, if you’re over twelve it could mean going to jail temporarily”.
In Regina the two leading causes of fire are careless cooking and arson. With students teaching students organizers find these kids are taking ownership over what they’ve learned.
“Don’t start fires, it’s not fun”, Talon warned.
There’s further proof of success in this program through the numbers. Four city neighborhoods have seen a decrease in arson fires after their elementary schools have participated in the program.
Careless cooking fires showed some decreases as well.