A few years ago, a participant in one of the safety training sessions that I was leading told me this story.
Their smoke alarms went off due to some burnt food. Their children yelled, “Fire, fire, fire, get out of the house!”
After dealing with the situation, they went to tell their children it was okay. At first, they couldn’t find them. Then they looked outside at the family’s fire escape plan meeting spot.
All their children were standing there waiting!
Many families in Canada do not have a home escape plan. Those who said they had a plan never rehearsed it.
In fact, a 2004 study commissioned by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs found that only 64 percent of Canadians claim to have a home fire escape plan.
And of that 64 percent, 63 percent had not practised their escape plan with family members even once!
You can have less than a minute to escape a home fire safely! Having a well-rehearsed escape plan—and practising it—is vital, and everyone should know exactly what to do if a fire starts and the smoke alarms sound.
< *c>Plan your escape
Practise your home/cottage escape plan. Know two ways out of each room and have meeting place outside.
If fire strikes . . . get out and stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbour’s!
< *c>Fire and smoke
Smoke is the real killer in most fatal fires. Few people die from fire itself. Smoke is quiet and deadly—and it will cover you like a blanket.
Fire and smoke travel very quickly, often with tragic consequences. A fire can engulf a home or cottage in less than five minutes. However, smoke can engulf a home or cottage in less than two minutes!
< *c>Working smoke alarms
Most fire deaths occur in homes and cottages where there are no working smoke alarms.
When you’re asleep, your nose is asleep. Correctly installed and maintained working smoke alarms can save your life!
We, as Canadians, need to take responsibility for our health and safety now, and take care of what we have!
Tyler J. Moffitt is a volunteer firefighter and emergency responder, as well as a continuous improvement advocate.
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