Wednesday April 23, 2014


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Coast sends two to international conference

Fire and fall prevention
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Greig Soohen of the Gibsons and District volunteer fire department and Tracy Parsons with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) home care services, were in Boston last week for Remembering When: a fire and fall prevention program for older adults.

A couple of Coasters have just returned from Boston full of knowledge to pass on to others following an international conference on fire and fall prevention.

Greig Soohen of the Gibsons and District volunteer fire department and Tracy Parsons with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) home care services were in Boston last week for Remembering When: a fire and fall prevention program for older adults.

The program focused on 16 key fire and fall prevention messages.

The Gibsons fire department plans to conduct a minimum of five group presentations and at least two train-the-trainer sessions for VCH home care services. Home care will also integrate materials from the program into its outreach through home visits.

“In order to attend, from the 37 selected communities across North America, we had to partner with a home care providing organization and demonstrate the need and usefulness of such a program on the Coast,” said Soohen. “Vancouver Coastal Health agreed to partner with us and make application for the scholarship to attend the conference and bring the program to the Coast. With strong cooperation between the two organizations, we submitted our joint application in June and were awarded the scholarship in September by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) headquartered in Boston.

“Tracy and I were fortunate enough to be chosen to represent our two organizations at the conference. In these days of tight budgets, it was very exciting to receive the $5,000 scholarship to attend and bring the program home. For VCH it fits into their larger plan to make the Sunshine Coast a centre for excellence for care for older adults and seniors. For us, it better prepares us to be that extension of the continuum of care which fire departments have become more and more in recent years.”

NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building and life safety. The mission of the international non-profit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.

“Adults 65 and older are more than twice as likely to be killed in a home fire compared to the population at large, and falls are the leading cause of death from injuries in this group,” said Sharon Gamache, program director of high-risk outreach programs with VCH. “This training offers strategies that participants can bring back to share with their communities to help prevent fires and falls among older adults who live there.”

— Submitted


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