Grade 5 Good Shepherd student chosen as Junior Fire Chief
A Grade 5 student at Good Shepherd School in Airdrie was this year’s Junior Fire Chief.
Jamie McKinnon submitted the winning essay to the annual contest that was open to all Grade 5 students in participating schools in Airdrie.
In her essay, McKinnon shared advice on how she would keep her family fire safe and what to do in case of a house fire.
“I know I am just a kid, but there are many things a Grade 5 student could do to prevent fires,” she said.
The annual contest is part of Airdrie Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Week activities. Students were asked to submit a 50-word essay on the topic “How can I keep my family fire safe.”
Winning essays from each class were chosen by the students’ teachers and submitted to the fire department, which reviewed the finalists and selected McKinnon’s essay as the winner.
McKinnon and her class received a visit from fire crews on Oct. 10. Members of Airdrie’s Fire Services made a presentation to class and McKinnon read her winning essay to her classmates.
“Then, she assisted the crews with setting off the fire alarm for a school fire drill… went for a ride in the firetruck and had a photoshoot with her mom and dad,” said Deputy Fire Chief Linda Masson.
Masson said McKinnon had lunch with the crews, participated in a meeting and went back to school where the students participated in a celebration with cake, donated by Safeway, and a gift from Airdrie Fire Services.
This was the first year the City department hosted its own junior firefighter program. Previously, the event was put on by the provincial body and in Airdrie, included lunch at a local fast food restaurant with the fire chief. In the past, the winner was chosen randomly.
Masson said the department wanted to do something different this year.
“By writing an essay, it meant the kids had to do a little more work, dig a little more,” she said. “We felt there was a lot more interaction directly with kids and the schools this year.”
Fire Chief Kevin Weinberger said the program was successful.
“We are delighted to have Jamie join our crew,” said Weinberger. “She highlighted a lot of great safety tips in her essay, including the importance for families to have a home escape plan that includes two ways out of every room. It’s even more important for families to practice their escape plan to ensure everyone is prepared in case of a fire.”
Fire Prevention Week, which was held Oct. 7 to 13, is an annual awareness campaign held across North America.
According to Masson, Airdrie’s Fire Services focused on education, conducting a number of fire drills at local schools and handing out fire-safety information to about 900 area youth.
Masson said the department was able to reach out to more than 3,400 students with the fire drills.
“This year, we focused our efforts on Grade 5 (students),” said Masson. “We are trying to change behaviour to ensure safety.”
For more information, visit www.fireprecan.ca