Last Saturday marked the grand opening of the Cowichan Valley Fire Safety Trailer, which was unveiled in the parking lot of the Walmart in Duncan.
The Fire Safety Trailer is an educational tool so that trained personnel can instruct children and adults about fire prevention and what to do in case of a fire. Most importantly, learners can act out and practice scenarios in a safe but semi-realistic environment with trained fire fighters supervising.
The house is a modern unit decked out with a little kitchen (complete with a pot on a stove burner), a smoke machine, and a door that is programmed to get warm to the touch. The back of the house has a window complete with a small ladder. The trailer replaces a previous one that was built in the 1980s by a high school shop class.
The new Fire Safety Trailer is geared towards all types of learners.
“The unit is meant for all ages and all mobility levels, and there is a wheel chair ramp for those who need it,” said Michelle Browne, president of Cowichan Valley Fire Prevention Officers (CVFPO).
According to Browne, the fire prevention officers were finding that as the old house declined, halls stopped requesting it. Browne discusses where the idea for the replacement safety trailer came from.
“About seven years ago the CVFPO started fundraising for a new house that would accommodate a broader demographic,” said Browne. “We wanted to be able to reach children, adults and the elderly as well as people who are wheelchair bound.”
The house is owned by the Cowichan Valley Fire Chiefs Association (CVFCA) and operating costs are funded by the CVFPO.
“Eighteen fire halls belong to CVFPO. They all pay membership dues towards the house each year which helps to cover operating costs,” said Browne. “Each hall that is part of that association has the opportunity to use it.”
Part of the operating costs are the accompanying materials that go with the house, such as colouring books and fire hats for children, as well as Emergency Preparedness handbooks and more, all geared towards fire safety.
If you or your organization would like to have the trailer come out to your location or event please contact your local fire department.