Prevent home fires

By Tyler J. Moffitt
The Safety Advocate

As a volunteer firefighter, I wish I never had to respond to a fire. When fire strikes, it is accompanied by destruction of property and, far too often, can lead to serious injuries or death to people.
Seeing a neighbour from down the street dead was an ugly scene. Helping to carry a co-worker’s son out of a burning home was tragic. Entering a burning home and finding three people dead was heartbreaking, especially when two of the victims were children.
So many years of potential life lost!
The theme for Fire Prevention Week this year is “Prevent Home Fires!” It addresses the leading cause of home fires in Canada—cooking, smoking materials, candles, matches and lighters, heating equipment, and electrical equipment.
When was the last time you check all your working smoke alarms? Do you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and cottage? Are they outside all sleeping areas? Are they in each bedroom?
The door of any bedroom gets closed at some point in time. If a fire strikes inside a bedroom with a door closed, no working smoke alarm means no early warning—and possibly no life!
Just as important, developing and practising a well-rehearsed home escape plan with two ways out of each room is critical to your family’s survival should a fire ever strike.
When was the last time you practised your home escape plan? Don’t have one? Haven’t practised one for a while? Practise your plan this week.
If you haven’t developed one, commit to doing so and practising it this week!
You may have only seconds to escape a house fire. A fire can engulf a home or cottage in five minutes or less. However, smoke—which is the real killer—can engulf your home or cottage in two minutes or less!
No one needs to die in a fire! Ultimately, your family’s safety is your responsibility.
Safety—it starts with you!
Tyler J. Moffitt is a volunteer firefighter and emergency responder, as well as a continuous improvement advocate.

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