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Sparky with Jordanna Kehler

The Fire Prevention Officer for the Hanover Fire Department is hoping families will work together on their escape plans as they attend open houses this week as part of Fire Prevention Week in Manitoba. Gary Kehler says the focus of this week is to have two ways out of every room. He notes the second way out is often a window which can be a challenge in some cases.

"When they're coming to the fire halls this year, we're hoping that we're going to spend some time talking with some of the adults about home escape plans and having the two ways out. And, knowing whether you can open that window at night is one of the things we try to impose when we teach the Grade 4's in Hanover. Can you open the window? Can you get to the ground? Is it frozen shut? Here in Manitoba, we have issues with windows freezing up."

Kehler also urges families to attend an open house together.

"Come out as families, don't just drop off the kids or send them with somebody else. If the families themselves can come out as a group, it's a good family time to learn together. So it's not just the kids learning, it's not just mom and dad learning, but they can learn it together as a unit."

The Kleefeld Fire Department will hold its open house Wednesday evening while Grunthal and Bothwell will have their open houses on Friday evening.

Meanwhile, Kehler says Hanover recently acquired its own Sparky the fire dog and adds he has proven to be very useful in presentations to children.

"Kids tend to gravitate towards the big, costumed, cartoon-type of character. I do a program with the Grade 2's in Hanover right now, it's a travelling Sparky program. To get them comfortable with Sparky, thinking of him as their friend, they really take the message home and they'll actually talk to their parents more than if it was just a firefighter coming in to talk to them."

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