Prevention is a very important aspect of fire safety. The goal of fire prevention is to educate the public to take precautions to prevent potentially harmful fires, and be educated about surviving them. It is a proactive method of reducing emergencies and the damage caused by them. Practicing fire prevention can help save the lives of you and your loved ones.
Fire Prevention Week - October 4 - 10, 2020
Did you know that in Canada, most fire deaths occur in the home, where people believe they are most safe? Canadian fire departments respond to roughly 25,600 structure fires per year. In 2015, structure fires caused more than 1,400 injuries and almost 200 deaths.
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.
See the following information to easy, practical tips that can save lives and your homes and to prevent fires.
Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape!
Install smoke alarms on every level and keep clean and dust-free, checking them monthly. Replace batteries yearly and alarms every 10 years.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a reported home fire in half!
- Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms, or no working smoke alarms.
- Interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home increase safety. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Most home fire fatalities take place between 2 and 4 a.m., while occupants are asleep. It is critical to develop an escape plan, because one needs to react quickly.
- Develop an escape plan. An entire home can be engulfed within five minutes.
- Most people are killed by smoke inhalation, not the flame of the fire.
Since most fire deaths occur while you are sleeping, practice your plan during the day and at night. Get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight while crawling to safety. Heavy smoke impairs breathing, which is why staying close to the floor increases chances of escape.
Common Causes of Home Fires Facts
- Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
- One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
Develop and Practice a Fire Escape Plan
- Draw a floor plan of your home showing all possible exits from each room.
- Where possible, plan two exits: a main route and an alternate route from each room.
- Since the majority of fire deaths occur while you are sleeping, practice your plan at night as well, getting down on your hands and knees with a flashlight while crawling to safety. Heavy smoke impairs breathing, which is why staying close to the floor increases chances of escape.
- If you hear the smoke alarm, or someone shouting "FIRE," immediately evacuate the home.
- Designate a meeting place outside your home.
- Small children unable to escape should be taught to open their windows and wave an article of clothing to attract attention. Instruct them to wait at the window until someone comes and to never hide from the fire.
- Discuss with a fire department official whether an escape ladder would be appropriate to install.
- Sleep with doors closed. If children are frightened, close doors after children fall asleep and use a room monitor to hear them.
- If awakened by a smoke alarm or a fire, instruct family members to feel the door for heat and check air at the bottom. If you don't smell smoke and the air is cool, kneel and open the door slowly, turning your face away from the opening. If smoke is present or the door is hot, use another exit.
- Purchase an A-B-C fire extinguisher, with ratings based on the fuel: ‘A’ originates from a wood or paper fire, ‘B’ is caused by flammable liquids and ‘C’ is an electrical fire. Learn how to use this fire extinguisher by remembering the acronym PASS. Pull the pin, Aim the extinguisher, Squeeze or press the handle and Sweep side-to-side at the base of the fire.
- If you live in an apartment building, develop your escape plan taking into account fire escape procedures provided by building management.
- Make sure your babysitter understands your fire escape plan.
- Practice your escape plan: regular practice is essential so that every family member knows what to do and will be able to react quickly.
- Assign someone to assist those unable to evacuate without assistance.
- Ensure that everyone in your home knows not to re-enter.
- Call the fire department from a neighbour's home.
The County encourages everyone to participate in fire prevention tactics year-round to ensure you, your family and your property is safe from the risk of fire. For other tips on how to keep your home safe, view our Fire Safety Checklists.