The Fire Department has played a key role in reaching the public with messages and programs aimed at reducing the incidence of fires and burns in Kelowna.
The public safety needs of our community - and cities and towns across North America - are changing, and it's not just fires and burns that we need to be concerned about.
The Garry Drachenberg Education Centre takes its name from the Department's first fire fighter to die in the line of duty. Garry lost his life the night of July 22nd, 1966 on route to a fire, leaving behind a wife and three young sons.
In Garry's honour, the first mission of the education centre is to present an injury prevention curriculum for children in pre-school to grade 8.
Preventing Unintentional Injuries
Each year, unintentional injuries kill and disable more children than drugs and disease combined.
Research shows that most traffic injuries, drownings, fires, scald burns, chokings, poisonings, and falls are not random "accidents" - they are predictable and preventable.
Every year in British Columbia more than 424,000 children are injured and over 260 lose their lives and as a result of preventable injuries.
The cost of injuries exceeds $2.1 Billion, the cost of a life is immeasurable.
Preventable childhood injuries in North America are worse than a problem - they are an epidemic!
Every hour of every day, 48 children in BC are injured!
*Source: Economic Burden of Unintentional Injury in BC, 2001
A few bumps and bruises are an unavoidable by-product of a healthy childhood, but most injuries are not inevitable but with education, motivation, and the support of caring adults, children can learn to be much safer.
Our commitment to this goal is crucial because every time a child is injured or killed by something that could easily have been prevented, everyone suffers: the child, his or her family, classmates and friends, and the entire community.
We believe Risk Watch, a program from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is the perfect vehicle to use as our community childhood injury prevention initiative.
Risk Watch provides students with an unprecedented opportunity to learn about injury prevention, to apply that knowledge in practice situations,and to develop the attitude and motivation to make the right choice in a risky situation.
The goals of each module are to develop and expand each student's safety knowledge, risk awareness, independent thinking, personal and social responsibility, prevention behavior, and motivation to protect oneself and others.
Each component of the "safety triad" works to provide students with the ability to apply Risk Watch in everyday experiences. In time, this application becomes cyclical as the students' developmental abilities mature.