Campaign pushing fire safety

Sam Odrowski

Creating a fire safety plan, and having all the proper alarms in place, has become more important now than ever before.
“Thirty years ago, you had approximately 15-17 minutes to escape a house fire,” noted Chapple, Emo, La Vallee & Alberton Fire Chief Josh Colling.
“But in today’s age of lightweight construction, recycled materials, and glued products . . . you may only have three-five minutes to escape,” he warned.
Volunteers from the Chapple, Emo, La Vallee & Alberton Fire & Emergency Service will be out cautioning people of this fact, as well as the importance of smoke detectors, during its “Door-to-Door Fire & Life Safety Campaign” running Oct. 1-4 and Oct. 9-12 from 5-9 p.m.
Half of the homes in its jurisdiction are set to receive a knock on their door this year, with the other half being reached in 2019.
It is important to note these door-to-door visits are not home inspections and are completely voluntary.
They are meant to educate, increase community safety, and assist anyone in any way.
“This is just an educational campaign, there’s nothing to fear,” Chief Colling said.
“We’re not going door-to-door to inspect people’s home,” he stressed. “We’re here to provide education, and hopefully they take that and make their family live in a safer place.”
The main focus of the campaign is to ensure people are checking their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly, and also have a home escape plan in place.
“At the speed that homes burn today, it’s not unreasonable to say that with new construction, [a house] can be gone in four minutes,” Chief Colling warned.
“Your detection system might take up to a minute or a minute-and-a-half to go off, and that only gives you another minute, so it’s too late to plan in an emergency how you’re going to get out,” he reasoned.
A safety plan indicates the two best exits from every room and sets a meeting place outside of the home.
People also are being warned to never go back into the house.
“If you have to make a phone call and you left your cellphone in the house, go to the neighbours, don’t call from your house,” Chief Colling stressed.
“The most important thing is to just get everybody outside.”
Chief Colling is looking forward to running the campaign and distributing much-needed safety materials to district residents.
As well, fire departments across the district will be out and about distributing information and doing classroom visits during Fire Safety Week from Oct. 7-13.