Ontario fire deaths on rise

Submitted by
Tyler Moffitt
Fire Chief/CEMC
Fort Frances Fire
& Rescue Service

As of April 11, 31 people have lost their lives to fire in the province of Ontario so far this year.
This tragic and alarming statistic already has surpassed the January to April 11, 2017 fatalities, which numbered 28.
As a member of the Fort Frances Fire & Rescue Service for more than 31 years, I have responded to way too many fatal fires.
My first fatal fire was in the 1980s and involved three people; it was heartbreaking, especially when two of the victims were children.
So many years of potential life lost!
I would like to remind the public to make sure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their home, outside all sleeping areas, and installed in every bedroom.
As well, it is important to practice a well-rehearsed home fire escape plan with everyone in their home.
Many fatal fires occur at night when everyone is asleep, so early warning is crucial to survival.
Remember, when you’re asleep . . . your nose is asleep!
Just as important as having working smoke alarms is making sure everyone in your home knows exactly what to do to escape before a fire occurs.
Simple smoke and carbon monoxide alarm tips:
•Install working smoke alarms on every level and outside all sleeping areas of your home.
For added protection, install a working smoke alarm in every bedroom according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
•Install working carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace, or attached garage.
For added protection, install a working carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of your home according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
•Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pressing the test button (push the buttons for 10 seconds).
If the alarm doesn’t sound, it’s time to replace the batteries or the entire alarm if the alarm still doesn’t sound after new batteries are installed.
•Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms wear out over time (replace alarms according to manufacturer’s recommendations).
Simple steps for home fire escape planning include:
•Everyone should know two ways out of each room, if possible.
•All exits must be unobstructed and easy to use.
•If someone in your home has a disability, develop an escape plan with your household that considers their unique needs (determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults, and anyone who needs assistance to escape).
•Choose a meeting place outside, such as a tree or a lamp post, where everyone can be accounted for.
•Call the fire department from outside the home, from a cellphone, or neighbour’s home.
•Practice your home fire escape plan.
•Once out, stay out (never re-enter a burning building).
Remember: working smoke alarms save lives! Test yours today.