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Wednesday January 14, 2009

Kids act in case of fire

SOME 150 children had a fun-filled day learning how to deal with fire during the Fire Kids Club Safety Workshop at Malacca’s Dataran Pahlawan in Bandar Hilir recently.

The workshop, organised by the Malaysian Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (MVFRA), was sponsored by CIMB Bank under its community link programme.

Memorable event: Four children taking part in the Fire Endurance Race.

Children aged between five and 11 years were taught safety and rescue tips by professional trainers.

Many shoppers and onlookers were captivated by the sight of the children having fun while taking part in hands-on activities such as Stop, Drop and Roll; Learn To Crawl In Smoke; Crowd Ball; Escape Grill Exercise; Firemen Endurance Race and Fireman Drag.

A special arena with smoke machines to mimic smoky conditions was set up to give a feel of realism. First-time participant Edwin Tan, 11, said he did not expect the two-hour workshop to be so much fun. He was taught how to deal with a serious life-or-death situation.

Safety first: Children being taught the proper way to climb down to avoid injuries.

“I found it useful, especially the Escape Grill Exercise.

“I did not expect the trainers to blindfold us, but I managed to unlock the padlock in a few seconds,” he said.

In the exercise, blindfolded children were required unlock a padlocked grill in conditions where thick smoke from a fire hampered their vision.

The lessons included crawling out during a fire and saving a sibling who was unable to walk.

Life-saving: Volunteers guiding children in the Stop, Drop and Roll activity.

Housewife Chong Lee Lee, 40, from Bukit Piatu, said she registered her sons Kee Yik and Kee Bin, aged nine and 11 years respectively, for the workshop when she was informed by their teachers.

“I signed up immediately when they asked me, she said, adding that it was important to educate children on fire safety.

She described the workshop as beneficial for her children as they were taught what to do to save their lives and others.

Another parent, N. Mohan, 41, from Bukit Sebukor, said the event was informative and conducted professionally to provided an enjoyable experience for children.

“This was a comprehensive programme and I am happy that my child Aruvin, seven, was given the opportunity to learn about fire safety,” said Mohan, who worked previously in the fire-fighting squad of a private company here.

Hands-on: Edwin Tan, 11, trying the Escape Grill Exercise at the workshop in Malacca recently.

MVFRA founder Captain K. Bala­supramaniam said the event was structured to enable children to understand fire safety.

“The Escape Grill Exercise is to train blindfolded children to unlock padlocks. When there is a fire, they will be thick smoke. With the exercise, children are aware they can make a difference,” he said.

Besides providing useful tips, the children were taught not to make prank calls, always give way to ambulances and not to play with fire or combustible materials, he said.

The activities were planned like in a game show to add fun to the event, he said.

“We do not want the children to get bored. We believe children learn faster this way,” he said, adding that the participants were treated to ice-cream after they completed the activities.

Balasupramaniam said the next workshop would be held in Taiping and several more being planned.

MVFRA founded the workshop in 1996 and has trained 60,000 children since its inception.