Lethbridge Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Tim Kali­nowski

West­min­ster Ele­men­tary stu­dent Siarah Ger­ard (mid­dle) was cho­sen as this year’s Fire Chief for A Day af­ter win­ning the Leth­bridge Fire De­part­ment’s poster colour­ing con­test to mark Fire Pre­ven­tion Week. Ger­ard's poster won out over about 3,000 other en­tries in this year’s con­test.

West­min­ster Ele­men­tary School stu­dent Siarah Ger­ard has been ap­pointed Fire Chief for A Day af­ter win­ning the Leth­bridge Fire De­part­ment’s an­nual Fire Pre­ven­tion Week poster con­test.

Ger­ard was pre­sented with her own firefighter’s uni­form and spe­cial chief’s hat at a brief cer­e­mony in her class­room on Thurs­day morn­ing.

“On Satur­day I will be pick­ing up Siarah and her fam­ily at her home in a firetruck,” ex­plained fire pre­ven­tion of­fi­cer Troy Hicks, who helps run the poster con­test for the Leth­bridge Fire De­part­ment. “I take them on a drive through the city and then take them to one of the fire sta­tions for a sta­tion tour. And then we go for lunch, and we get to sit down and talk. Any­thing Siarah wants; she is the boss for the day and she gets to tell me what to do.”

“It feels good (to be Chief for A Day),” the soft-spo­ken Ger­ard said af­ter re­ceiv­ing the hon­our. “Fire­fight­ers save peo­ple.”

And that’s the same mes­sage he and his fel­low fire­fight­ers want to get out there to all kids in the city, said Hicks: that fire­fight­ers save peo­ple and kids shouldn’t be afraid if they come to their home to help.

“Fire alarms can be scary to kids,” Hicks ac­knowl­edged. “We no­tice that ev­ery time we do fire drills. So we get out and do pre­sen­ta­tions to the schools all the time, and I think it is re­ally good to get them ex­cited and help them un­der­stand what the noises are. And we teach them not to be afraid of fire­fight­ers. A lot of kids are scared when they see our guys in uni­form or when they see us in our bunker gear with our masks and stuff on. So I am go­ing to make sure Siarah on Satur­day sees us wear­ing our gear, and it will be one less per­son who is scared.”

Fol­low @TimKalHer­ald on Twit­ter

Her­ald photo by Tim Kali­nowski

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