With singing, actions, and of course, Sparky the Fire Dog, elementary students in Sylvan Lake were entertained and educated about fire safety last Wednesday and Thursday in a musical production.
Organized by Sylvan Lake Fire Department and presented at the Alliance Community Church, the show, titled “Sing Out Fire Safety,” featured children’s entertainer Mary Lambert.
“It reaches kids in a way that they’re taught easily through,” said Lambert. She created the show in 1999 at the request of an Ontario fire chief, in a community where she was living at the time.
Throughout the show, students were invited onstage to sing, dance, and take part in educational demonstrations. Topics included fire prevention, burn care, and stop, drop, and roll. Lambert also sang “The Great Escape” about evacuating a burning house.
Lambert concluded with a song titled “Children Teach your Parents,” where students were encouraged to share what they had learned with their families.
“I think kids are the best age to reach because it does filter up to parents,” said Lambert. She has received emails from parents being heckled to install a smoke detector after their children saw her performance.
She has also heard from a girl who told her father to stop, drop, and roll when his clothing caught on fire, thereby saving him from serious burns.
Lambert changes her performance based on her audience’s age.
Younger children like to sing, she said, and older children prefer to hear true stories. She performs for children up to Grade 6.
While she can present the show independently, she most enjoys working with the fire department.
“It’s nice to be able to work with them to present the message,” said Lambert.
Deputy Chief Steve Scanland first contacted Lambert to perform. He heard about her show from other firefighters in Red Deer, in addition to advertisements.
Lambert’s show took place in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week, and replaced the fire department’s usual classroom presentations.
“I think their response was really good, we’ve got lots of positive feedback,” said Scanland.
In total, Lambert presented to over 1,000 students while in Sylvan Lake.