Fire safety through art

Lily points to the drawing of her dad. 210794 Pictures: ROMY STEPHENS

By Romy Stephens

Montrose CFA is inviting the community to view its four new murals, painted by local primary school students.

The murals were a collaborative effort between Montrose CFA, Montrose Primary School and Billanook Primary School.

The project saw students, from Prep to Grade 6, take part in a fire safety program and then apply their learnings through art.

Montrose CFA lieutenant Val Gallacher said the blank canvas on the brigade wall provided “the perfect opportunity” to get school children involved.

“We’re always looking for a community engagement project because the fire brigade is like a hub in the area and we always want to keep coming up with new ideas and inviting the community here,” she said.

“The area was a dead zone and one of the members started to develop it so we thought we would brighten it up with something.”

Logan, 8 years old, was one of the students that attended a Fire Safe Kids session and then contributed to the murals.

“I painted one of the fire trucks, the three fire trucks that were facing forward. I also painted some of the other details. When I painted them it reminded me what you should do when a fire comes in your house,” he said.

“If there’s a fire in your house and if you can’t see, block your eyes and crawl all the way to the front door and exit the building.

“If you’re on fire, stop, lay down and roll.”

Meanwhile, Lily, 8 years old, took inspiration from her dad when painting.

“I drew my dad because he’s the second lieutenant… I’m proud of him because he helps people if they are stuck in a fire or ever hurt,” she said.

Montrose CFA lieutenant Silvana Linton said it was great to see students learn and appreciate the work of the local fire brigade.

“I’m very impressed in their recall memory and what they’ve retained from the Fire Safe Kids sessions we’ve done, how much they’ve retained and how much they’ve put into those murals,” she said.

“Most of those messages that we gave them are what’s there.

“Especially Lily, knowing that her dad is in the brigade and how proud she was of him, I just think that’s very humbling.”

The mural project took just under 12 months to complete but is now finished and open for the public to enjoy.

Ms Gallacher said she hoped the murals helped establish the brigade as a “more inviting place” for the community.

“It is a workplace, we do have fire trucks, it is very serious 99 per cent of the time, but it is an inviting place and it is a very friendly place.”

“We have an amazing membership here and I want the building to start reflecting what we’ve got inside.”