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Coast's first FireSmart literacy program sparks interest in children

Children get hands-on experience with fire engines while learning about wildfire prevention at Gibson's & District Public Library

More than 40 children came to learn about fire safety and meet their local firefighters at the Coast’s first FireSmart BC Library Program session.   

The new program is the first children’s literacy program on the Sunshine Coast dedicated to wildfire resiliency. Its first session took place at the Gibsons & District Public Library on Feb. 8, where local children had an opportunity to learn about wildfire mitigation as well as see fire equipment up close. (They even got to sit inside a fire engine.) 

David Mcllwraith, FireSmart coordinator for the Sunshine Coast, said that the library program was designed to help children understand what it means to live with wildfires and the role they can play in mitigating the impacts of wildfires on their home and community.

The first session consisted of storytelling by Erin Wilson, SCRD FireSmart representative and Halfmoon Bay firefighter, as well as a first-hand look at a fire engine with Chris Facchin, fire prevention officer with Gibsons & District Volunteer Fire Department.

This event was also FireSmart’s first chance to introduce Ember, the FireSmart mascot, to the community.

The program consists of both digital and physical resources and will feature colouring contests as well as wildfire literacy kits and Ember activity kits. 

The literacy kits are a collection of books from the FireSmart BC Library Program that go through the topic of wildfire resilience in a way that is approachable for young children, and the Ember activity kits consist of activities that families can check out of the library.

The kits include:

  • Wildfire Resiliency Literacy Kit booklet
  • Printed copies of FireSmart kids’ home assessment
  • Printed copies of the QR code poster
  • Printed copies of the Firefighter Cookbook
  • Books (list of approved books is in the Wildfire Resiliency Literacy Kit Booklet)
  • Ember stuffed animals

Future events will be held at the Gibsons & District Public Library and the Sechelt Public Library once the flood damage has been repaired. 

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.