A powerful – and very bouncy – public education tool has finally arrived at the Lantzville Fire Hall, thanks to the hard work of Lt. Chris Knudsen and a deft grant provincial gaming grant application by Firefighters Curtis LaBounty and Randy Austin on behalf of the Lantzville Volunteer Firefighters Association.
The new inflatable Fire Safety House comes adorned with various fire safety “DOs and DON’Ts” aimed at children as they bounce their way up to the slide. Once down, firefighters supervising the ride will test them on what they learned. If they answer incorrectly – for instance, not knowing how to safely point pot handles on the stove – they’ll just have to jump in for another turn. The aim, Knudsen says, is to combine learning with fun.
“We’ll be teaching real world skills, like pointing to the door and a window and encouraging kids to always know at least two exits from a house,” he says. “But we’ll be doing it in a fun way. That will keep them interested and should help with their retention.”
It isn’t just the kids who will benefit, he adds. “I’m hoping our firefighters will see the fun the kids are having and be even more interested in public education,’ Knudsen says. “Sometimes standing there with a table full of flyers can be a little dull. If they’re enjoying providing the training they’ll want to keep doing it too.”
Judging by the Lantzville Fire Rescue Facebook page, the house is already working its magic. In just two days, the announcement of its arrival has eclipsed the most popular previous posting by 6,000 views and attracted the attention of Fire Halls from as far away as Nova Scotia.
Check out the house at this year’s Minetown Day, where it will be co-located with the Fire Hall’s information booth and fire extinguisher demonstrator.
When it comes to jumping up and down in excitement, though, nothing beats a firefighter waiting for a new engine. Lantzville’s new “Engine 2” is slated to arrive mid-October. The custom cab pumper by Rosenbauer America “will look like nothing else in the Hall,” says Chief Tom Whipps.
The first difference will be its red paint job (Lantzville’s main engines have been yellow for decades). In addition to more power and more buttons, it features a back-up camera, side-mounted pumper station, internal ladder stowage, air conditioning to cool down recovering firefighters and a significantly reduced turning circle (to accommodate some of Lantzville’s tighter driveways).
One thing E-2 won’t have is a bouncy slide, but at least we know we won’t have far to go for one…