SPARK of Brilliance
Spark of Brilliance is a resource for teachers to enable them to work with Autistic and other special needs students and was developed by four Federation University students Hailey Vassallo, Barb Brokenshire, John Dallimore and Terrie White in their final year of study.
The idea for the Supporting People with Autism Resources Kit arose after one of Hailey’s professional placements involved a child with autism who struggled with the major changes involved in a lock down procedure at his school, especially without notice, to the point it caused major discomfort and anxiety at the time.
The students developed three story templates that teachers can download and print to help Autistic and other special needs students learn about emergency evacuation at school, put them at ease with the situation and prepare them, should the situation ever arise.
The templates allow teachers to insert pictures of their classroom and evacuation procedure and individualise it further by including the student and teacher’s name into the book. By familiarising the student with it, they will be able to see what they are required to do in an emergency, and empower them to act calmly when the time comes.
The Spark of brilliance resources will be made available for free from CFA’s website on the Fire Safe Kids teacher resources page.\
Ferntree Gully Library Storytimes
In 2013 the Ferntree Gulley Library made contact with Ferntree Gulley CFA to discuss the possibility of presenting joint events for local children and their families with the aim of improving fire safety and awareness.
Together, the Ferntree Gully Library and CFA decided to incorporate the fire safety education into the library story time which attracted local children and their guardians (parents and grandparents). At the start of each session, a local CFA member Graham Critchton talked to the children and their guardians about home and bushfire safety. After which the librarians would read books and sing songs with the participants. At the conclusion of the session, participants had the opportunity to go outside and see some of the local CFA trucks and have firefighters demonstrate how they use their hoses.
Since it started this program has reached more than 700 children and adults.
Library School Holiday Program
Originally starting at the Cobden Local Library, the Library School Holiday Program is now presented in 11 out of 12 libraries of the Corangamite Regional Library Corporation.
Local library staff worked together with local CFA volunteers to organise a story time and activity session that incorporates fire safety lessons for the participants (pre-schoolers, and 5 – 7 year old primary school aged children) and their guardians. In most cases the sessions are incorporated into a normal story time session to ensure maximum attendance numbers.
The lessons taught include:
- how to call the fire brigade
- how to test smoke alarms
- taking home smoke alarm testers for families, grandparents and neighbours
- when to change batteries in smoke alarms
- bush fire safety including yard clean up
At the end of the session, participants had the opportunity to go outside and see some of the local CFA trucks and have firefighters demonstrate how they use the hoses.
Smoke alarm battery changeover program
After discussions with their local CFA, the Lions Club of Port Fairy – Belfast became aware there were concerns about the lack of knowledge and awareness of smoke alarm requirements within their local elderly and disabled resident’s community.
The Lions Club of Port Fairy – Belfast decided they would work with local health care and senior citizen providers to ensure that their elderly and disabled residents had working smoke alarms.
As a result in 2015 the group replaced 147 smoke alarm batteries in 102 locations. Several faulty alarms were replaced and several were relocated into correct positions. They also left a fridge magnet at each residence with the local Lions Assist contact number to be called in the event of problems with smoke alarms.