Every second counts. That’s what firefighters in Airdrie and across Alberta are promoting during Fire Prevention Week, which runs this year from Oct. 8 to 14.
As part of this year’s theme – Every second counts: Plan two ways out – Albertans are advised to know and practice two fire escape routes from their homes.
“A lot of people think of one way out and sometimes that exit can be blocked by smoke or flame or heat, so we really do want people to start thinking about two ways out of their home,” said Linda Masson, deputy fire chief with the Airdrie Fire Department (AFD).
She also suggests practicing fire escape routes twice a year.
The AFD is hosting activities to promote Fire Prevention Week, including its sixth annual ATCO Gas Fire Safety Day Oct. 14 at Chinook Winds Fire Hall from 1 to 4 p.m.
“We have lots of interactive safety displays and public education information, some truck tours and our focus will be on the theme for the year,” Masson said.
A Senior’s Safety Tour will also be held Oct. 12 at the same location from 1 to 3 p.m., where seniors are invited to participate in a tour of the hall and learn about fire safety.
The AFD will be distributing fire safety booklets to Grade 4 students in Airdrie and assisting schools with fire drills as well.
“Often times we find that children will practice their escape plans in schools but not at home, and yet that’s where most of the fire deaths occur,” Masson said.
Having working smoke alarms is also encouraged.
“That gives you the time you need to make those safe escapes,” she said. “And if your first escape is blocked, it gives you the time to find your second escape.”
According to a press release issued by the province Oct. 5, there were 4,324 fires in Alberta in 2016 that resulted in 29 fatalities and 166 injuries.
Fires caused by cooking, smokers’ materials and electrical wiring accounted for 68 per cent of home fires from 2007 to 2016. Other common causes include arson, heating equipment and appliances.
The province advises homeowners to find two ways out of every room, make sure nothing is blocking doors and windows, and discuss an outdoor meeting place with family members.
“A fire escape plan needs to be practical and easy for your family to follow. This also means having a complete plan for safely using an alternate escape such as a window,” Kevan Jess, acting Alberta fire commissioner, said in the release. “If you have questions about using a second escape route when making your plan, contact your local fire department for advice.”
For more information, visit airdrie.ca or call the AFD at 403-948-8880.