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Game makes learning about fire safety fun
February 06, 2005

"Kynan Johnson, 5, gets a look at a fire safety game CD from Staying Alive Inc. administrative assistant Randi Monteith and program creator Shane Ferguson. The game was previewed Saturday at the Wendy's location on Red River Road."(Thunder Bay)

A video game that could save lives was being given away Saturday at a northside fast food joint.

The Great Escape was handed out to kids at a Wendy's location as a way to teach them how to escape their homes during a fire.

In the game made by Shane Ferguson of the fire safety group Staying Alive, a character known as Mrs. Aboutfire guides a fire lobster through the home.

"The kid has to figure out how to get out," Ferguson said.

About 700 games were available to children at Wendy's.

It took Ferguson, a Winnipeg resident, one year to make the game, which he finished 1 1/2 years ago. Already, 28,000 copies have circulated worldwide.

In the animated game that is meant to be fun for kids three to 10 years old, people get a second chance to survive fires.

"In real life, you don't," Ferguson said.

The Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue Service endorses the game, said fire prevention director Brian Berringer.

He said he wants every child to get the game because it puts a very complex problem in simple terms.

House fires are an ongoing problem in Thunder Bay.

Two just before Christmas inflicted burn injuries on two women and another fire in October badly burned a man. The last fatal house fire in Thunder Bay was in January 2004.

Berringer said careless cooking tends to be one of the causes of fires, as some people don't pay attention to their stoves.

At least 300 families appeared Saturday at the Wendy's to receive The Great Escape.

2005 Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal - All Rights Reserved.

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