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Willows kids ‘prepared not scared’

Active Red Cross activity imparts readiness skills to Grade 3 students
Oak Bay Deputy Fire Chief Tom Pearse leads a discussion with Grade 3 students at Ecole Willows Elementary on emergency preparedness.

Third graders at Willows elementary are better prepared this week than last.

The Grade 3 students learned about the risks of a disaster such as an earthquake, as well as how to create a plan and build an emergency kit.

“The Red Cross wants people to know the risks and have a plan and be prepared,” said Monika Hall-Kowalewski, Red Cross volunteer.

What better way to learn for third graders than a game, created by a  Canadian Red Cross volunteer. It keeps them racing around, solving puzzles and learning valuable information all at once, she added. “It does a good job communicating with the kids. They’ll take that information home to their parents.”

Large-scale domestic disasters like the Nepal earthquake continue to serve as a stark reminder for the need to be ready. This outreach program offered during Emergency Preparedness Week May 3 to 9 uses a series of interactive games to encourage kids to take an active role in helping their families prepare for emergencies.

The session wrapped with a conversation with Oak Bay Fire Deputy Chief Tom Pearse, who outlined many readiness skills. He likened it to their ongoing fire safety, where they educate kids young, and often.

“We teach them to be prepared not scared,” Pearse said. “They have awareness and knowledge to build on, to make good choices.”

Each student also received a starter emergency kit, or grab-and-go bag, through a partnership with Thrifty Foods.