Be your own hero. That’s the message this year for Fire Prevention Week.
“Come up with a good plan, discuss it with your children so they know what to do in a fire emergency,” said Joan Flaspohler, assistant fire chief of the Williams Lake Fire Department. “It’s so important.”
October 6 to 12, 2019 is Fire Prevention Week. The theme this year is ‘Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan & Practise Your Escape!’
Flaspohler said you can take steps to educate yourself about the small but important steps you can take to keep yourself and those around you safe from fire.
In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practise can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.
In the Williams Lake Fire Department there are three full-time firefighters with Fire Chief Erick Peterson, Deputy Fire Chief Rob Warnock and Flaspohler. There are also 42 paid on call firefighters who are all trained to the provincial standard of full-time firefighters.
“Our members are sacrificing their work life and personal life to protect the public,” she said.
Flaspohler noted residents should consider educating themselves on fire prevention and pass it along to loved ones.
One way to prevent fires, she said, is for people to understand the dangers of cooking and how to prevent kitchen fires.
If there is a grease fire in the kitchen, do not use water to put out the fire. Rather, a grease fire should be smothered with the lid of a pot to cover the flames and safely turn off the heat.
If you have a fire in the oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from escaping.
Officials also advise against cooking if you are tired, or under the influence of medication or drugs or alcohol.
Other tips residents can use to prevent fires in the home include ensuring you unplug curling irons and hair dryers, don’t smoke or have lit candles in bedrooms and make sure smoke alarms are always kept up to date.
Flaspohler encourages everyone to be proactive with safety tips to prevent fires.
“Then the community becomes the heroes wearing the capes.”
• In British Columbia, the top causes of fire in the home are cooking equipment, matches/lighters, heating equipment and smoker’s material.
• According to statistics reported to the Office of the Fire Commissioner, 97 fatalities occurred in the past five years due to a structure fire, and in 43 per cent of these cases, there was no working smoke alarm.
• According to statistics reported to the Office of the Fire Commissioner, in the past five years, 75 per cent of apartment fires occurred in buildings of four or fewer storeys.
• Home escape planning and practice ensure that everyone knows what to do in a fire and is prepared to escape quickly and safely.
• Today’s homes burn faster than ever and may allow as few as two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds.
• A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
• It is recommended that everyone install smoke alarms inside every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area, and ensure there are alarms on every level of the home.