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Nanaimo elementary school raises money for burn fund

Taylor Fair, 5, left, who was burned over 20 per cent of his body when he was a baby, tries on helmets and firefighter turnout gear with his big brother Jacob, second from right, when firefighters Gregory Finstad, second left, and Johan Lundkvist visited Bayview Elementary school last week promoting burn and fire safety. The visit was part of Nanaimo Professional Firefighters Association’s activities for Burn Awareness Week, which runs until Saturday (Feb. 8).  - CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin
Taylor Fair, 5, left, who was burned over 20 per cent of his body when he was a baby, tries on helmets and firefighter turnout gear with his big brother Jacob, second from right, when firefighters Gregory Finstad, second left, and Johan Lundkvist visited Bayview Elementary school last week promoting burn and fire safety. The visit was part of Nanaimo Professional Firefighters Association’s activities for Burn Awareness Week, which runs until Saturday (Feb. 8).
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

A school bottle drive will raise cash for the B.C. Professional Firefighters Burn Fund while local firefighters visit schools to teach children how avoid burn injuries during Burn Awareness Week (Feb. 2 - 8).

Bayview Elementary School held a special assembly Tuesday when Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters Greg Finstad, local B.C. burn fund representative, and Johan Lindkvist got children up to speed on how to avoid being burned.

Children also heard from Wendy Gadd, the mother of one of their fellow students Taylor Fair, 5, who at the age of 14 months, was burned on more than 20 per cent of his body when he was splashed with hot cooking oil from an electric frying pan that fell on him.

Taylor has fully recovered from his burns and he was fortunate to have only needed one skin graft surgery, Gadd said. The B.C. Burn Fund helped out with Taylor’s recovery by paying for one set of two compression garments, valued at about $500 each, which help stretch grafted skin to minimize scaring.

“We were very lucky that they helped out with that to ease some of the financial burden,” Gadd said.

Taylor is one of about 90 children under the age of five who are hospitalized with burns in B.C. each year. About 87 per cent of those injuries happen at home, mostly in the kitchen.

A child’s skin is thinner than an adult’s, which means water at 60 Celsius – the temperature most home hot-water tanks are set at – in contact with a child’s skin for one second will cause a burn. Contact for several seconds will inflict third-degree burns.

Finstad explained more fire facts to the students, some of whom will take part in a bottle drive with school staff, Taylor and his mother at Bayview Elementary School Sunday (Feb. 9) when they hope to bring in the final dollars needed to hit their goal of raising $3,000 to support the burn fund.

“In Nanaimo over the last few years we’ve raised nearly $100,000 for the B.C. burn fund,” Finstad said.

For more information about Burn Awareness Week, please visit the B.C. Professional Firefighters Burn Fund website at www.burnfund.org.

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