Fire safety experts stress importance of educating children

Watch above: Fire safety expert stresses importance of educating children with a book. Amber Rockliffe reports.

SASKATOON – Retired firefighter Ed Onishenko, well-known as “Captain Ed“, says parents and schools have an important role to play in educating children about what to do during a fire. He spent 35 years fighting fires and saw tragedies that he says could have been avoided.

His experience prompted him to write Captain Ed’s Fire Safety Book. In it, he highlights details every child should be taught.

“I’ve come across instances where kids will find a hiding place, whether it be under the bed or in the closet, because they think it’s safe, and it’s more difficult for firefighters to find them,” he explained.

Captain Ed said a child is never too young to be taught fire safety.

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“Toddlers aged two and up are at the highest capacity for learning … they can learn about the dangers of fire and what may cause fire.”

When his children were younger, Saskatoon Fire Department Battalion Chief Marc Degirolamo said there were important rules in their household.

“We taught them to keep the doors closed at night, so that if there ever was a fire, the smoke wouldn’t come into their rooms. We taught them how to get out of the house safely,” Degirolamo explained.

The Saskatoon Fire Department distributes a pamphlet to schools around the city designed to help families develop their fire escape plan.

“In that plan there should be at least two exits in every room, and also two ways out of the house,” Degirolamo said.

The fire department recommends families practice their plan together.