Deachman: Tornadoes, wildfires and survival, oh my! Algonquin students offer life-saving advice



“A suggestion for overcoming a power outage: fill your washing machine with ice and use it to prevent food from spoiling.”

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If you cover a campfire with dirt after you’re done, the hot embers can still start a forest fire by igniting and moving along tree roots.

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If an overnight power outage leaves you without light, you can use crayons as emergency candles. They don’t last long and you don’t want to breathe in their chemicals for too long, and then what’s your child going to use to mark the living room walls, right? But it’s an emergency, you can try to explain it to him.

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Meanwhile, if you can’t get indoors during a tornado, lie face down in a ditch with your hands covering your head.

And here’s another suggestion for overcoming a power outage: fill your washing machine with ice and use it to keep food from spoiling. Melting ice will not cause damage.

These are just some of the tips that students from Algonquin College’s Pre-Firefighter Education and Training Program offered Monday evening during a public education event held on the campus of the Algonquin College. Woodroffe Avenue from the school.

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The Calamity Fair – that’s my name; theirs was Community Risk Reduction Show – saw the program’s cohort of 58 students at a dozen stations, where they shared facts and figures with a curious audience, as well as preventive and reactive measures to take in the event of a wildfires, tornadoes, opioid overdoses and power outages. Other topics covered included sexual assault prevention, switching to emergency vehicles, the dangers of building materials, the use of fire extinguishers, and what to include in a 72-hour emergency kit (including money, so obvious once you’ve been told).

According to Cheryl Hardwick, a professor at the school’s Policing and Public Safety Institute, this is the first year the curriculum has included most of these topics. It’s an indication, she says, of the wider range of calls that firefighters are increasingly responding to.

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“It gives (students) a broader horizon of what the trade is, instead of just focusing on structural firefighting,” she said. “And you can also see by the subjects; these are all things that have affected our community recently.

“So that means these are things we need to be aware of and we can all be part of the solution.”

For Monday’s briefing was also an indictment of the changing world we live in, where weather events that used to happen only rarely are happening much more frequently. According to the emergency events database maintained by the Brussels-based Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, global economic losses resulting from extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms amounted to US$224 billion in 2021, nearly double the average ($118 billion). United States) over the previous two decades. Then there’s the human cost on top of that.

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“And if everyone had all of this information, like this 72-hour emergency kit,” student Liam Campbell said, “it would make my future job much easier. I think it’s important that people take responsibility for their own lives and prepare.

So keep those crayons handy (or buy some candles, duh).

“A Shadow Falls on the Lowell Glacier” by Ottawa photographer JA Lamont was chosen co-photo of the year in an international competition that evaluated nearly 11,000 photos submitted by photographers from 55 countries.
“A Shadow Falls on the Lowell Glacier” by Ottawa photographer JA Lamont was chosen co-photo of the year in an international competition that evaluated nearly 11,000 photos submitted by photographers from 55 countries. Photo courtesy of JA Lamont

Speaking of climate-related things, congratulations to Ottawa photographer JA Lamont, whose photo “A shadow falls on the Lowell Glacier” was chosen, as well as a submission from Austrian photographer Philip Jaskesch, photo of the year at the natural scenery photography contest 2022.

The international contest saw nearly 11,000 photographs submitted by 1,179 photographers from 55 countries. The announcement of the winners was made on Tuesday.

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Lamont’s photo shows the shadow of a nearby mountain peak against the Lowell Glacier in Kluane National Park in the Yukon. Taken from a Cessna 172 last July, the photo is part of a glacier project that Lamont began about a decade and a half ago. In 2017 he mounted an exhibition called Glacial Flows: Notes for a Requiem, and earlier this year the City of Ottawa purchased two of his prints, depicting the Donjek Glacier, also in the Yukon, for its permanent collection.

In his time photographing glaciers, Lamont says he has witnessed rapid deterioration that he likens to an ecological canary in a coal mine.

“At the heart of why I do everything in this area is that these things are worth bringing to our attention,” he says. “Glaciers are an early warning system, and most people don’t see them every day, so they don’t think about anything. But they are important, and the photographs are a chance to make them real, to make them physical, and something vitally important.

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“I see changes that should be measured in geologic time, like hundreds or thousands of years, and they happen in five or ten years. Their disappearance doesn’t just tell us that things are seriously wrong and that we need to change. They are more than just an indicator. Their disappearance will cause horrible suffering and upheaval across the world.

Visit to see all the winning photographs.

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