It brightens the day to hear great stories about fire prevention and public education. Here’s one, from Jeff Corriveau, division chief of public education in Springwater, Ontario.
“Just wanted to let you know about a very successful fire-prevention undertaking here in Springwater, and it couldn’t have happened without the NFPA and Sparky.
“We ran a program called Ask Sparky, with the Grade 1 and 2 students in our township. This program gave the students the opportunity to write a letter to Sparky. Questions could be about the fire service, Sparky the Fire Dog, fire trucks, fire safety, firefighters, or anything fire-related. This increased students’ knowledge of fire safety, and it’s also a fun way to practise literacy skills. We got a huge buy-in from the schools, as this fit perfectly into the Grade 1 and 2 curriculums.”
Essentially, the fire department arranged to visit the classes with Sparky, and explained to students that they could write letters to Sparky, and Sparky would write back; there were prizes too! Teachers collected the letters and contacted the department.
“We answered the letters and returned with Sparky. Sparky handed out the replies and the prizes. The kids and the teachers loved it,” Corriveau said.
Firefighters visited 12 classes, answered 248 letters (Sparky’s typing skills improved greatly over the course of the program!), and teachers have asked that the program run next year.
“The NFPA,” Corriveau said, “was invaluable in supplying the persona of Sparky and the licensed gifts we got from our Canadian suppliers. Keep up the great work!!”