Fire Safety Education

CAPTION: Colonel Saumatua stresses a point during the Fire Safety Book launch while the UNICEF Representative, Simon Molendijk  and Acting Minister for Education Commander Viliame Naupoto looks on. Photo: SUPPLIED.


The National Fire Authority (NFA) achieved another historical milestone today with the launch of the Fire Safety Teacher’s Handbook and the Fire Safety Student’s Activity Book for classes 5 and 6.
The project has been a collaboration between NFA, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Education.
Minister for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment and NFA’s Line Minister Colonel Samuela Saumatua launched the Fire Safety Teacher’s Handbook and the Fire Safety Student’s Activity Book and handed it to the Ministry of Education during a ceremony this morning at the Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment Board Room in Suva.
During his address at the launch of the Fire Safety Teacher’s Handbook and the Student’s Activity Book, Colonel Saumatua said this occasion was an important milestone for NFA and is the beginning of the introduction of Fire Safety Programs into the Education System commencing with the curriculum for classes 5 and 6.
The launching of the Fire Safety Program to be part of the school curriculum for classes 5 and 6 is an important strategy in NFA’s Community Awareness Strategy and also supports the reforms undertaken by Government to ensure the safety and security of our children which is the Key Pillar in the Government’s People’s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress for the Quality Education in Fiji for our children.
“Fire Safety Awareness is very important in the prevention of home and property fires and importantly the prevention of fire deaths in our communities. Children have been the innocent victims of these property fires,” Colonel Saumatua said.
One thousand, three hundred and fifty-five (1355) copies of Student’s Activity Book and seventy (70) copies of the Teacher’s Handbooks will be distributed to the fifty schools Fiji wide that will pilot Fire Safety Program this year to be taught in classes 5 and 6. The National implementation will be in 2014.
“Children play an important role in their families and in our community awareness programs, children quickly absorb information in relation to fire safety and more importantly they are very proactive in the implementation of what they usually learn and question parents and adults when they do things that are not in accordance with the learning and information they have acquired from the awareness program.
“The inclusion of Fire Safety Program in the Education Curriculum for classes 5 and 6 will embed the Fire Safety culture in our children and the NFA hopes this will lead to a cultural revolution in the change of community attitude and behaviour towards Fire Safety,” the Minister said.
Out of the ninety-five (95) structural fires in 2012, there were eighty (80) home fires, ten (10) were commercial fires, four (4) school fires and one (1) farm property fire incident.
Government is concern on the number of property fires last year which resulted in 12 fire deaths and more sadly that 7 of the deaths were children. The loss of any life as a result of a fire should not be accepted and is one too many. The tragic loss of human life and injury, as well as extensive property damage from residential fires has tragically impacted our communities and resulted in huge economic losses for our country.
Colonel Saumatua acknowledge the support and funding provided by the UNICEF who funded this project with a total sum of $40,000 and the staff of the Curriculum Unit of the Ministry of Education who have worked closely with NFA to develop the two documents.
My Ministry through the National Fire Authority looks forward to continue to work with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF so that we could have Fire Safety Programs as part of the School Curriculum for students from early childhood education to form 7 level.
A challenge has been issued to the Management and staff of NFA to reduce the number of property fires to 50 fires this year. The introduction of the fire safety programs into the education curriculum is an important strategy which will have a multiple effect at the homes, community and national level in minimising the number of structural fires and economic losses associated with these structural fires,” Colonel Saumatua said.
Colonel Saumatua has also requested the Ministry of Education to keep alive this significant curriculum so that it maintains its vitality and significance in Fiji’s education system.
He thanked the Ministry of Education especially their Curriculum Development Unit and the staff of NFA for working tirelessly to ensure that the Teacher’s Handbook and Student’s Activity Book was ready in a short period of time.
Meanwhile Acting Education Minister Commander Viliame Naupoto said the launch of the book is a significant step towards fire prevention.
Commander Naupoto highlighted that he was proud to accept the hand books and viewed the handover as an important milestone in the struggle to try and change the culture and attitude towards fire safety.
“The Ministry is proud to be involved in such an important project for the children of Fiji.
Commander Naupoto also indicated the Ministry’s support towards fire prevention and has assured that the Ministry is committed to the full implementation of the curriculum in all the schools in 2014 and is looking forward to working with the NFA to further develop fire safety curriculum for other classes from pre-school to form 7.
The UNICEF representative, Simon Molendijk highlighted that the UNICEF was proud to be involved in such project which will impact the community and he thanked all involved in ensuring the project was completed on time.

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