Chapple fire service open house successful

Sam Odrowski

While celebrating Canada’s birthday was the focus for many families this past weekend, some also took time to learn about fire safety and prevention at the Chapple Fire and Emergency Service Open House on Saturday.

“It was a great success overall and we had a good time,” noted Chapple, Emo, La Vallee, and Alberton Fire Chief Josh Colling.

“The community’s always excellent for engagement.”

The annual event saw about 40 or 50 children come through to learn about fire safety and enjoy an array of themed events, which was similar to last year.

Almost all of the children who attended received fire extinguisher training through the digital fire attack system that was setup at the open house.

In terms of highlights for the event, it was hosted on a hot day, so the water sports/activities did quite well.

A parade was hosted in conjunction with the open house, starting on Cedar Yard Road in Barwick and finishing at the town’s ball diamond.

“Sparky [the fire dog] was there on one of our units as well, and then made his way to Fort Frances for the July 1st parade in Fort Frances,” Chief Colling recalled.

Meanwhile, fire safety plans and checking CO2/smoke detectors monthly were the key messages the fire services team tried to spread during the open house.

“Seconds count in an emergency,” Chief Colling stressed.

“The reality is with response times and how quick homes burn, a house can be gone in four minutes.”

“The best thing a person can do is make sure they have their [fire safety] plan in place and check their smoke alarms every 30 days minimum,” he added.

It’s essential for families to know their fire safety plan and practice it to improve the chances of survival during an emergency situation.

To develop a plan walk through the home and identify all possible exits and escape routes.

Families with children should draw a floor plan of the home and mark two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.

Ensure the windows and doors are clear, accessible and can be opened easily.

Settle on a meeting place outside in the event of a fire and under no circumstances should someone enter back into the burning building. If someone is missing or trapped inside, inform the fire department dispatcher when they are called.

Firefighters are highly trained and have the skills as well as equipment required to perform emergency rescues.

In terms of smoke alarms it’s essential to check them once a month and replace them every 10 years.

Three out of five home fire deaths are the result of fires in properties without working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA).

Statistics show that the risk of dying in a house fire is cut in half when in a home with working smoke alarms.

Going forward, Chief Colling said the district’s fire services will also be hosting open houses in the coming months, especially for the annual Fire Prevention Week in October.

Outside of that he said the fire services are doing their door to door campaign to spread fire safety information across the district.

The district’s fire services are also recruiting and anyone interested can email Chief Colling at or by calling 271-4230.