To promote Fire Prevention Week to the youth, B.C. will have its annual Fire Prevention Week contest. The contest aims to promote knowledge in escape planning to all B.C. students K-12. 

From now till Nov 4, 2022, K-12 students from B.C. Indigenous, public, and independent schools are invited to submit a completed ‘Home Fire Escape Plan’ (HFEP).  Each student gets a chance to send one entry for a chance to win prizes by exemplifying their knowledge of home fire escape planning. 

“Normally it’s a poster contest with video components,” said Gayanne Pacholzuk, Prevention Coordinator with the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund. 

Pacholzuk explains that the poster contests in previous years were open themed and the organization kept receiving entries that were not necessarily related to Fire Prevention Week’s designated theme. 

“We decided that we were just going to really focus on the theme itself. The kids get a copy of the grid and they draw their homes. We encourage them to do it with their families and everyone in the home. We just really want to get the next generation of people practicing fire prevention.”

BC Office of the Fire Commissioner, BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund, Fire Prevention Officers Association of BC, and First Nations’ Emergency Services Society have all partnered up to bring this contest to the students. The contest will include 12 iPads and 12 Panago pizza parties as prizes for the winning entries per grade. 

The informational activity sheet is designed by the National Fire Protection Association in order to educate students on the basics of emergency preparedness when it comes to fires. The plan provides students with a grid to map out the layout of their homes, making them aware of exit points and smoke alarms. The plan also asks students to establish a meeting for the family after leaving the house. 

“We at the NFPA promote using this,” said Andrea Vastis, Senior Director of the Public Education Division for NFPA. “It’s a especially good because with young children, that’s a way to involve them by drawing. It gives you a concrete way to plan what is going on with your house.”   

Aside from the completed escape plan, students are also asked to review the plan with the people they share residence with before submitting their plan to BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund, no later than November 4. 

“There were so many fire deaths last year,” said Pacholzuk. “Some can’t be prevented, but if people planned better for their home escape then it’s going to make all the difference in the world to the statistics that is come out from the Fire Commissioner’s Office.”

Contest rules can be found at www.gov.bc.ca/firepreventionweek. Submissions can be emailed to [email protected] or can be mailed to BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund, 3891 Main Street, Vancouver, BC, V5V 3P1.