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Fire Prevention Week: Plan to get out alive

By Don Fennell

Published 1:46 PDT, Thu October 3, 2019

Fire kills eight people each week in Canada.

And residential fires account for 73 per cent of the fatalities.

Those numbers alone are alarming, and should ensure that everyone has a plan to prevent them. 

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6 to 12, a time to recognize the life-saving contributions of our firefighters.

Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape! is a campaign that works to educate everyone about the small, but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe. In Canada, most fire deaths occur in the home, where people believe are most safe.” 

“Home fires continue to pose a significant threat to safety,” says Capt. Brian MacLeod, community relations officer for Richmond Fire-Rescue. “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 practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.”

MacLeod says situational awareness is a skill people need to use wherever they go.

“No matter where you are, look for available exits. If the alarm system sounds, take it seriously and exit the building immediately.”

Home Fire Escape Planning

Home fire escape planning and drills are an essential part of fire safety. A home fire escape plan needs to be developed and practised before a fire strikes.

A home escape plan should include:

• Two exits from every room in the home – usually a door and a window

• Properly installed and working smoke alarms 

• A meeting place outside the home where everyone will meet after they exit 

• A call to 911 or the local emergency number from a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone

• Know your street address

 Smoke Alarms

• Detect and alert people to a fire in the early stages.

• Can mean the difference between life and death in a fire.

• Cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire.


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

• Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

• Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.

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