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Residents need to protect their families from fire

Campaign focuses on preventing leading causes of home blazes
Residents need to protect their families from fire

by Laura Walz Families can protect themselves from fire by being ahead of the game and having a good offence.

Powell River’s fire department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) during Fire Prevention Week, October 9 to 15, to provide information to families about protecting themselves from fire. This year’s theme is protect your family from fire and the campaign focuses on preventing the leading causes of home fires, which are cooking, heating and electrical equipment, as well as candles and smoking materials. Additionally, it urges people to protect their homes and families with life-saving technology and planning.

Powell River Fire Rescue is participating in the Canadian Tire Fire Safety Days on Saturday, October 15 as part of Fire Prevention Week. Staff will be in attendance to talk to people about home escape planning, smoke alarm maintenance and general safety questions. Sparky the Fire Dog also will be present and members of the department will be handing out items from the Fire Marshal’s Public Safety Council, in cooperation with Canadian Tire.

In 2010, 30 people died in British Columbia as a result of fires. There were a total of 5,938 fires reported and 143 injuries. Of those, 1,783 were residential fires, which caused 19 deaths and 64 injuries.

Nearly all of the deaths and injuries could have been prevented by taking a few simple precautions, such as having working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan, keeping things that can burn away from the stove and always turning off space heaters before going to bed.

“While preventing home fires in Powell River is always our number one priority, it is not always possible,” said Deputy Chief Terry Peters. “Residents need to provide the best protection to keep their homes and families safe in the event of a fire. This can be achieved by developing an escape plan which you practice regularly and equipping homes with life-saving technologies like smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers.”

The following tips will help keep families safe:

• Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.

• Interconnect all smoke alarms in the home so when one sounds, they all sound.

• Test smoke alarms at least monthly and replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond when tested.

• Ensure everyone in the home knows how to respond if the smoke alarm sounds.

• Consider installing home fire sprinklers when building or remodelling a home.

Powell River Fire Rescue is now on Facebook posting safety messages and department activities.