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Kootenay Boundary fire station educates on fire safety

Fire Prevention Week offers opportunity for all ages to learn about safety
One lucky student from Glenmerry, St. Michael’s, Webster, Rossland, and École des Sept-sommets spent Friday at theregional fire station in Trail, learning all about firefighting and fire safety. They got to be fire chief for the day as part of FirePrevention Week. The students donned helmets, worked with hoses, and checked out the fire hall equipment all whilehanging out with the Kootenay Boundary crew. Photo: Submitted

“Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.”

Direct but to the point is this year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week (FPW), which runs Oct. 9 to Oct. 15.

But it isn’t just any Fire Prevention Week this year - in fact 2022 marks 100 years since fire stations across Canada began singling out the second week of October as a way to educate all-ages and community members about how to stay safe in case of a fire.

This year’s FPW campaign, ‘Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape,’ works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe from home fires, begins Fire Chief Dan Derby of Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue.

“Today’s homes burn faster than ever,” Derby said. “You may have as little as two minutes — or even less time — to safely escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out during a fire depends on early warning from working smoke alarms and advanced planning.”

Smoke alarms sense smoke well before you can, alerting you to danger. Smoke alarms need to be in every bedroom, outside of the sleeping areas, such as a hallway, and on each level of your home, including the basement.

Working smoke alarms is key, but so is an escape plan.

“It’s important for everyone to plan and practice a home fire escape. Everyone needs to be prepared in advance, so that they know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds,” advises regional Fire Prevention Captain Jason Milne.

“Given that every home is different, every home fire escape plan will also be different. Have a plan for everyone in the home. Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Make sure that someone will help them.”

For best protection, the fire department recommends using combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are interconnected throughout the home. These can be installed by a qualified electrician, so that when one sounds, they all sound.

This ensures you can hear the alarm no matter where in your home the alarm originates.

Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue shares these key home fire escape planning tips:

Make sure your home fire escape plan meets the needs of all your household members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities;

Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound;

Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows open easily;

Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone should meet;

Practice your home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the household, including guests. Practice at least once during the day and at night.

When checking your smoke alarms, the fire department recommends also checking your carbon monoxide alarms if they are separate. Picking one day each month is a great way for getting into a routine.

Reminder: Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms don’t last forever.

They should be replaced every 10 years, and the batteries every year, or according to the manufacturers’ recommendations. If you have a broken or expired smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, replace it, or drop your old one off at the Trail fire station, which can be replaced for free.

Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of Oct. 9 in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on Oct. 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage, killed more than 250 people, and left another 100,000 people homeless.

The horrific conflagration destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.

In May 1919, at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 23rd annual meeting in Ottawa, at the invitation of the Dominion Fire Prevention Association, resolutions were passed urging governments in the United States and Canada to support a campaign for a common Fire Prevention Day.

Fire Prevention Day expanded to Fire Prevention Week in 1922, and the nonprofit NFPA has officially sponsored Fire Prevention Week ever since.

During Fire Prevention Week members of the public, including children, adults and teachers, learn how to stay safe in case of a fire.

During the week, firefighters traditionally provide lifesaving public education in an effort to decrease casualties caused by fire.

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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