Stuffed toys help kids in crisis

5 firefighters hold stuffed dalmatians in front of a fire truck
/ Community

When first responders arrive on the scene of a fire, vehicle accident or medical emergency, they often assist children who are scared and in need of comfort. That's when plush, huggable pals come in handy.

Since 2002, FortisBC has been a proud sponsor of the Trauma Pup Program, providing hundreds of stuffed Dalmatians for first responders across BC. Captain Pat O'Connell of Delta Fire and Emergency Services says they’re a welcome tool in a tough situation. “We give them to any child who's upset," he said. "They might not be hurt but Mom and Dad are hurt.

"One kid (we assisted) went through a plate glass window. He wasn't in any shape to take one but his sister was upset, and the pup helped her and settled her down."

In 2016, FortisBC has increased the number of pups funded to 1,500. They'll be distributed as needed by the Fire Prevention Officers Association to fire departments and other first responders.

It's important to us to give back to the communities we live and work in. We continually hear from first responders how much these Trauma Pups mean to kids in distress, and we're happy to continue supporting such a valuable program.

Viviana Zanocco

community and aboriginal relations manager, FortisBC