Give a gift to save a life!

I attended my first fatal fire back in the late 1980s. A parent and two children lost their lives 10 days before Christmas.
Christmas still may be more than a month away but in the sprit of the festive season, it is vital to practice and make time for safety.
Why? So to avoid the dangers of carelessness during a time of happiness and celebration, when most people are relaxed and not alert as usual.
•Festive parties
Is a party with family and friends part of your plans for the holidays? If so, decorate by using non-combustible or fire retardant treated decorations.
Remember, smokers need watching! If you or others smoke, always use large, heavy, non-tip ashtrays. And when the party is over, check carefully for cigarette/cigar butts and ashes, especially in upholstered furniture.
Finally, just in case small children may awake before you, be sure matches and lighters are out of reach and out of sight!
•Working smoke alarms
This past October, I participated in a community smoke alarm blitz along with other members of our local fire and rescue service. While most homes had working smoke alarms, there were some that did not have any!
It was disappointing to find homes without these life-saving devices, especially the homes that had small children.
Ensure working smoke alarms are on each level of your home and cottage, outside sleeping areas, and inside the bedrooms. If you don’t have these life-saving devices, make them an “open early” gift of safety to your family and friends.
Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the care and maintenance.
•Escape plan
Families also are urged to review their home/cottage fire escape plan for quick exit in an emergency. Remember, know two ways out of each room and have a meeting place outside.
If fire strikes, get out and stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbour’s house.
Take responsibility for your health and safety now. Take care of what you have! Safety—it starts with you!
Tyler J. Moffitt is a volunteer firefighter and emergency responder.