Home fires today can burn faster than ever. Occupants may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely after the smoke alarm sounds. Knowing how to use that time wisely takes planning and practice.
Kamloops Fire Rescue is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)–the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years–to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign: “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere”. The campaign works to educate the public about basic yet essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire. Fire Prevention Week is October 7-13, 2018.
Data from Statistics Canada show that the number of structure fires declined by 26% between 2005 and 2014. However, residential fires consistently accounted for roughly six of every 10 structural fires during that period, and cooking equipment and smokers’ materials caused approximately 60% of those 10 residential fires.
The home is the place people are at greatest risk for fire, but home is the place people feel safest. That feeling of safety contributes to complacency toward home-escape planning and practice.
“Working in the fire service for many years, we know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost them their lives,” said Lyle Weninger, Life Safety Educator for Kamloops Fire Rescue. “We need to teach people how escape planning and practice can make the difference of them surviving a fire.”
Weninger says this year’s “Look. Listen. Learn.” campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:
- Look for places fire could start
- Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm
- Learn two ways out of every room
While the NFPA and Kamloops Fire Rescue are focusing on home fires, these messages apply to virtually any location.
“Situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go,” said Weninger. “No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”
Kamloops Fire Rescue will be at Sandman Centre this weekend for the Kamloops Home Show. Residents are encouraged to come out and talk to fire safety experts on how they can be better prepared in the event of a fire:
In addition, 5,400 students in Kindergarten to grade 3 will receive a Fire Prevention Week package this week to take home. The package contains information on home fire escape plans and smoke alarms. Also, 2,000 students in grades 4 and 5 will have the opportunity to become Fire Chief for the day!
For more information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit www.firepreventionweek.org and www.gov.bc.ca/FireSafety, or follow Kamloops Fire Rescue on Facebook at @KamloopsFireRescue.