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Shy but brave Orlando Pearce at Duffy Primary School.
Photo: Rohan Thomson
Darth Vader emerges
from scary smoke haze
Terrified and surrounded by smoke, frightened
children need to know that the towering masked
figure bursting through the door to fight the
flames is their greatest friend, not their worst
Firefighters from ACT Fire and Rescue
launched their annual fire safety program on
Wednesday to show kindergarten children
across schools in Canberra that they are friendly
giants there to help.
Firefighters and chief officer Paul Swain
visited Duffy Primary School yesterday to
familiarise kindy children with their
intimidating uniform and breathing apparatus,
"Children are often scared of firefighters
because when firefighters arrive it's like Darth
Vader has entered their homes," Mr Swain said.
"You can imagine for a poor kid caught in a
scary, smoky environment, if someone even
scarier turns up they're going to hide instead of
yelling out for help."
The kids were also taught when to stop,
drop and roll'' and how to drop down low and
go, go, go'', but Mr Swain said children learnt
best from their parents.
"Kids know more about what they're
supposed to do from what their parents do, so
we encourage parents to sit down and teach their
kids, If we have a fire, what would we do?'" he
Firefighter Mark Callaway has four children
and looks forward to running fun fire-safety
lessons with the school classes.
"The kids love it and it's enjoyable for us
too," he said.
"We always like to push the message that kids
should give us a wave or come up so we can
show them the truck."
Kindergartener Orlando got the chance to
wear a firefighter's uniform and spray one of the
truck's hoses and, although a bit shy, said that he
had had lots of fun and wasn't scared of
firefighters any more.
Principal Steve Kyburz was thrilled with the
program and encouraged other schools in the
area to arrange a session.
"The advice the firefighters provided was
simple but practical and the kids got to try it out
lots of times," Mr Kyburz said.
"The kids also enjoyed going up to a
firefighter and touching the suit and air tank
while feeling very safe and comfortable."
Concern over the effects of rezoning
Peak body ACT Shelter has voiced concern the
ACT government has not committed to retain
enough public housing within plans to
redevelop and rezone housing blocks across the
Rezoning the sites to make way for high-
density residential development, the
government's proposed 17 blocks across the
ACT will make way for high-density residential
This move may affect 385 public housing
Executive officer Leigh Watson has called for
the ACT government to be more aware of the
housing needs of people on low to moderate
incomes in any planning around public housing
"Not only is the figure of 10 per cent
arbitrary, with no rationale or explanation as to
how it was reached, it also means a decrease in
the actual numbers of public housing," she said.
"Such a decrease is in itself unacceptable, but
particularly so at a time when housing in the
ACT is increasingly unaffordable and the
Territory's homeless figures increasing."
Ms Watson said more detailed consideration
of housing needs was needed before community
consultation began in September.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 12
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