Oak Bay municipal clerk Loranne Hilton practises using a fire extinguisher. The Oak Bay Fire Department held training sessions for municipal staff for Emergency Preparedness Week which runs May 4 to 10.

Municipal staff take a pass for fire protection

There’s safety in being prepared for emergencies

Municipal staff are learning to PASS.

The acronym for Pull the pin, Aim the hose, Squeeze the handle and Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire (PASS), was one of several techniques municipal staff learned at the Oak Bay Fire Hall heading into emergency preparedness week.

“We are where people might come if there is an emergency, so we should have the information to give to the residents of Oak Bay,” said municipal clerk Krista Mitchell. “This reinforces what we learn. Practice makes perfect.”

Inspector Rob Kivell of the Oak Bay Fire Department said keeping on top of the little things is important should an unforeseen emergency arise, and training is important for everyone for the health of staff, coworkers, friends and family.

“It is really important. A lot of people don’t get the opportunity (to use an extinguisher). They know what they are all about but don’t really get a chance to use them,” he said. “Unless you get that opportunity, a lot of people don’t even think to use them in a fire situation.”

The 20-year veteran firefighter took groups of people through an information video and gave them the chance to practise their PASS techniques on a controlled propane fire behind the fire hall with a portable fire extinguisher last week.

“Emergency preparedness week is an opportunity to get a chance to showcase some of the skills that are out there and help people learn things like fire extinguisher training,” he said. “Things they can do at their home to prepare for an emergency.”

After dousing her fire in sodium bicarbonate and completing the training, Mitchell offered up some advice for residents of Oak Bay.

“If we came across something we would know how to help our coworkers and keep people safe and save the building,” she said. “Be prepared, something could happen at any time and it is up to you to look out for your family and your coworkers.”

Emergency preparedness week takes place May 4 to 10.

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