Fire-safe school win

Holly ThompsonManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Camera IconCredit: The Scene Team

Balingup Primary School’s junior fire brigade program has won this year’s Resilient Australia School Award.

The Resilient Australia awards recognise the way communities bounce back after adversity such as bushfires or floods.

The junior fire brigade was one of six winning groups or individuals to have played a significant role in preparing, protecting and rebuilding communities affected by disaster.

The program was first set up in 2017 after school principal Emma Bancroft identified the need to educate students on fire safety.

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“We devised a 10-week program which complemented not only the WA curriculum, but the Department of Fire and Emergency Services school education resources,” Ms Bancroft said.

“Each week volunteer fire fighters came to our school to help teach students how to be fire aware and fire safe.”

She said the plan for the program was to give students an engaging and hands-on learning experience which linked practical and theoretical approaches to fire fighting.

“By the end of the 10-week program, students from pre-primary through to Year 6 could safely operate fire equipment including pumps, hoses, correct fitting techniques of nozzles and couplings through regular drills in deploying a fire truck and extinguishing targets,” Ms Bancroft said.

“In addition, valuable theory was taught with students learning how to check smoke detectors in their home, how and when to make a 000 call, basic first aid, the importance of fire evacuation plans, stop, drop and roll, and being bushfire ready.”

The program’s positive impact was highlighted in February, when a bushfire threatened the town of Balingup and closed the school. Ms Bancroft said students and staff were well prepared and used the information they had learnt in the program to stay safe.

Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan congratulated all 2019 award winners for leading the way in designing programs that protect people and build resilience in the community.

“The ability to adapt, survive and thrive in the face of adversity and disasters is the hallmark of strong, resilient communities,” he said.

“It is very pleasing to see so many members of the next generation being honoured tonight, this means communities are fostering the skills and knowledge to face future challenges and recover.”

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