It seems to happen too often that firefighters are on the scene of a tragedy like this one. Tragic endings to fires are the reasons why Shane Ferguson is working to promote fire prevention and awareness.
Shane is a firefighter with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service has been a Public Education Facilitator on a volunteer basis for about fourteen years. He has a special interest in teaching young people about fire safety. Approximately fourteen years ago, when his oldest daughter was in pre-school, Shane started giving classroom presentations on a volunteer basis about fire safety and awareness. Within a very short period of time, he realized that the demand for fire safety education was high, and the community's demands were not being met. As word of mouth spread, the requests for Shane's presentations grew. He saw a need and took the imitative to develop a fire safety curriculum for students from Kindergarten to grade eight.
In an effort to reach a wider audience, Shane approached a national apparel retail franchise in Winnipeg with a partnership proposal to assist in promoting fire safety and awareness in schools and to the public. The store enthusiastically embraced the opportunity, and the first event dubbed "Staying Alive" was organized and held on November 20, 1999. Firefighters (Volunteered) from the city fire department and were on hand at the three retail locations in Winnipeg to answer questions from the public. A "Home Escape Plan" contest was held to help educate the public on the importance of having a fire escape plan that the entire family understands. The contest ballots featured typical floor plans of bungalows, two-story, split-levels, bi-levels and apartment homes. The entrant had to complete their family escape plan and have it reviewed by the firefighter at the store. The response was amazing; with over 4000 individuals and families taking part in the event and so began the fire safety program "STAYING ALIVE".