Chiefs urge fire prevention

Chiefs urge fire prevention
By Michael-Allan Marion
Brantford Expositor
Link to article: Chiefs urge fire prevention

The sign outside the Brant County fire administration building stated the warning bluntly.

“2018 – 4 Fires. 8 Dead. No Working Alarms!”

Those tragic fires occurred outside Brant and Brantford, in other communities in Ontario, but they moved Brantford fire Chief Shane Caskanette and Brant fire Chief Michael Seth to issue public statements pushing a campaign to spur residents into installing smoke alarms in the their homes, and get the owners of large buildings to make sure they are always working.

“In the wake of a fatal fire in Oshawa on Jan. 8, the Brantford Fire Department wants to remind the public to make sure that they have working smoke alarms on every storey of their homes and outside all sleeping areas, and have practised a home fire escape plan with everyone in their home,” Caskanette said.

“Fire moves so fast that you may have less than 60 seconds to escape a fire safely, so early warning is crucial to survival. Only working smoke alarms give you that early warning.

“It is up to you to make sure these types of tragedies do not happen in Brantford.”

Seth had the same urgency in his comments.

“Can you imagine learning that your family has died because the smoke alarms were not working? Take a moment to imagine that,” he said.

“Multiple Ontario communities have been rocked by fire fatalities. These are preventable tragedies. It’s unacceptable to us as a fire service.

“Every resident must be vigilant about fire prevention and protection. The alarm industry has created multiple smoke and CO alarm products; all of them can save your life.”

Here are some simple smoke and carbon monoxide alarm tips:

- Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of the home. For added protection, install a smoke alarm in every bedroom according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms.

- Install carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas if the home has a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached garage.

- Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pressing the test button. Change the batteries every year.

- Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms wear out over time. Replace alarms according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The law requires homeowners and landlords to install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. A minimum fine for residents is $360 up to a maximum of $50,000. Corporations may be fined up to $100,000 for violating the law.

A press release provides steps for home fire escape planning. The first is to ensure that everyone in the home knows two ways out of each room, if possible.

Others include: ensuring that all exits are unobstructed and easy to use; having a home fire escape plan for anyone who has a disability that takes into account the individual’s unique needs; and determining who will be responsible for helping you children, older adults and anyone who needs help escaping.

When escaping a fire:

- Choose a meeting place outside, such as a tree or lamp post, where everyone can be accounted for.

- Call the fire department from outside the home, from a cell phone or a neighbour’s home.

- Practise the home fire escape plan.

- Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building.

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