By Tyler J. Moffitt
The Safety Advocate
It’s Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 9-15), and all of us need to take responsibility for fire safety in our own homes, as well as in our cabins/cottages.
The leading cause of residential fires remains to be unattended cooking. As well, the leading cause of residential fire deaths remains to be smoking materials.
Not having working smoke alarms was a contributing factor in the many fatal fires across Canada.
We all need to remember—and remind others—to always stay in the kitchen when cooking. You and your family’s lives may depend it.
If you need to leave for any reason, you should turn off the stove and take the pot or pan off the burner.
If someone is a smoker, they should smoke outside! If someone smokes inside, use large, sturdy ashtrays that can’t be tipped over easily.
Ashtrays should be emptied into a metal container; not the garbage can. Check around furniture cushions after people have been smoking, especially if they have been drinking.
Install working smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside all sleeping areas, as well as inside all bedrooms.
Test them monthly by pushing the alarm test button, and change the batteries at least once a year or whenever the low-battery warning chirps.
Dead batteries must be replaced right away!
Nuisance alarms can be avoided by making sure they are not located too close to the kitchen or bathroom. Or consider getting a smoke alarm with a hush feature.
Remember, smoke alarms need to be checked after any extended absence, such as trips or vacations.
Winston Churchill once said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” Who will be responsible for young children, older adults, and others who may need assistance?
Know two ways out of all rooms in case of fire (the only exception would be a bathroom with no windows). Identify all exits and make sure you can use them.
If you live in a high-rise, familiarize yourself with the building’s fire safety plan.
If you discover fire, call the fire department from a safe location outside.
Do you have children going to college and university? Parents, guardians, and students need to discuss fire safety, as well as taking an active role in fire safety planning.
Please take some extra time this week to ensure your smoke alarms are working, and practise a home fire escape plan.
Safety—we can all make a difference!
Tyler J. Moffitt is a part-time firefighter and emergency responder, as well as a continuous improvement advocate.