This week marks Fire Prevention Week across North America and officials are emphasizing the importance of having an escape plan in case of a fire in your home.
“Imagine it is 2 a.m. in the morning. You and your family are fast asleep when you awaken to the sound of your smoke alarm and the smell of smoke. You may only have one to two minutes to escape safely. Having an escape plan in place can save your life,” said Chris Royle, Deputy Fire Chief of Administration at the Victoria Fire Department.
The key theme of this year’s campaign is: ‘Every Second Counts - Plan 2 ways out’, which includes ensuring you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home, in every bedroom and near all sleeping areas, and planning two ways out of every room - such as a door and a window - each with a clear path to a safe meeting place outside the home.
Other important safety tips for developing and practising a home escape plan are:
- Draw a map of your home noting two exits from each room with paths to the outside.
- Practise your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one drill at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practise using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you aren’t able to help them.
- Make sure your home address number is clearly marked and easy to see from the street.
- Close doors behind you as you exit – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
Local fire departments will be visiting elementary schools, participating in fire drills and promoting fire prevention and protection in the home. Free smoke alarms will also be made available to residents who need one.