The tight-knit community of Lunenburg County in Nova Scotia is still mourning the loss of a mother and three children last month. Local firefighters are rallying together to honour the family.
In February, Kaylea Savory, her two sons and her fiancé’s daughter died in a house fire in Auburndale, on the South Shore.
Savory was a teaching assistant at Bluenose Academy, and the three children — in Grades 3, 4, and 6 — attended that school and Greenfield Elementary.
“It’s affected many people and we’re all just mourning,” said Michelle Greek, a volunteer with the New Germany Volunteer Fire Department.
Greek spoke with Global News Morning on Tuesday. She said the fatal fire was a “heartbreaking event” that prompted her to launch an initiative.
This Saturday, the fire department aims to give every child in the district a smoke detector. Children, along with their families, are invited to drive through the fire hall’s parking lot on Fire Hall Road between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to pick them up.
Greek said many children in the area were friends with the children who died, or have been affected by news of the tragedy.
“Many, many people now have fears of fire, fears of death. And it’s a scary thing for children,” she said.
“And we’re hoping by us providing a smoke detector to every child, and reiterating the importance of practicing fire escape plans at home, that will help relieve some of those fears that people have.“
It’s hoped the initiative will also remove barriers for some families.
“Life is expensive right now. Life is busy. (People forget) to change batteries, to replace smoke detectors,” she said.
“And it’s been a long two years. We haven’t been in the schools, as we did pre-COVID, reiterating these messages.”
It’s important for families to discuss and practice how to evacuate their home if there is a fire, she said. Choose a spot to meet outside once everyone has gotten out.
Other fire departments joining initiative
The New Germany Volunteer Fire Department initiative has spread. Eight fire departments have joined the mission. Some departments plan to deliver smoke detectors to schools. Some are going door-to-door to hand out detectors. Others are inviting the public to stop by their fire halls.
To further encourage families to use the smoke detectors, Greek said their department is asking children to snap a photo of their installed smoke detector and send it in to enter a draw. The winning child will get to ride on the department’s new aerial truck later this spring.
“No firefighter ever wants to respond to a call like this,” she said.