Fire safety interest sparked at Palliser school

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Ayman Mohammed, a Grade 9 student at Calgary Islamic School, Omar Bin Al-Khattab campus, checks out the fire truck.

Not all lessons learned at school can be measured on a report card.

For one Palliser Regional Schools student, a visit from the Calgary Fire Department helped deliver a message that could save the lives of him and his schoolmates’ families.

The fire department recently selected the Omar Bin Al-Khattab campus of Calgary Islamic School to take part in its Junior Fire Chief Program as part of Fire Prevention Week.

The school, in turn, selected Grade 9 student Ayman Mohammed for the honour. Mohammed has memorized the whole Holy Qur’an (consisting of 604 pages, 114 chapters, 6,236 verses), spends personal time volunteering in the community, and has developed excellent communication skills through the Toastmaster’s program. He has also received medals for his innovative ideas from the Calgary Science Fair.

Mohammed was appointed Junior Fire Chief by Calgary Fire Chief, Steve Dongworth, and was given a firefighter’s uniform to don for the event.

The Junior Fire Chief – with the assistance of senior counterpart, firefighters, and department mascot Sparky the Fire Dog – activated the fire alarm and initiated the first fire drill of the school year.  Students and staff exited the building and were met by a contingent including Palliser Associate Superintendent Education Services Stan Hielema and Supervisor of the Calgary Islamic School Dr. Abdullah Omar.

The program was an engaging means to raise awareness of fire safety and prevention in the school and to the community at large.  A presentation by the fire department followed in both English and Arabic, with this year’s theme of “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep.” The Junior Fire Chief focused on making sure students and parents had working smoke detectors in their homes to help save lives.

After the event, Mohammed and members of his family rode away in a fire engine to a local fire station where they were invited, along with members of the Calgary Islamic School, for lunch.

In addition to that celebration, the Junior Fire Chief will also join the fire department for the Calgary Stampede parade, and other events the fire department takes part in through the year.

All photos are courtesy of the Calgary Fire Department.

For a video of the Junior Fire Chief program, go to