An important reminder ahead of Fire Prevention Week: working smoke alarms save lives.
Fire Prevention Week runs from Oct. 4-10 and it launched Friday with a smoke alarm demonstration that punctuates the need for working alarms in every bedroom, as about half of residential fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. .
“As the new minister of state for emergency preparedness, I am committed to helping elevate fire prevention awareness and urge all British Columbians to take steps to be safe and protect your home from fire risks. Fire Prevention Week provides all British Columbians with a reminder to review evacuation plans and practice fire drills, test the batteries in fire alarms, and ensure fire extinguishers are serviced,” said Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto.
Fire preparedness activities at fire halls and schools across the province will take place over the week.
Tim Pley, Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia said, “The FCABC is pleased to support Fire Prevention Week. The 2015 theme Hear the Beep Where You Sleep reminds us all of the critical need to have working smoke alarms in all homes, and that those alarms be located where they can be heard by occupants who are sleeping.”
In B.C., as in several other provinces, efforts are underway to increase the presence of working smoke alarms in residential occupancies. Fire Prevention Week provides us all with a reminder to install, maintain and regularly test residential smoke alarms.”
The awareness week, held across North America, is the longest running public health and safety observance on record and falls on the anniversary of one of North America’s most significant fires: the 1871 Chicago fire. Fire Prevention Week aims to draw public awareness to fire safety and provides an opportunity to review evacuation plans, practice fire drills, test the batteries in fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and ensure fire extinguishers are serviced and functioning.
On average, one British Columbian is injured by fire every 44 hours in the province and the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia research suggests that fatality rates rise 74 per cent when a working smoke alarm is not present. An update to the BC Smoke Alarm movement report initially released in October 2012 titled ‘Smoke Alarms Work, But Not Forever: Revisited’ says total deaths have dropped by nine a year between 2012-14 as a result of present and working smoke alarms.
* In B.C. the primary source of residential fires is stove top burners, but other top ignition sources include electrical, fireplaces and chimneys, as well as cigarettes.
* Many fires are preventable, yet statistics show that on average, fire kills eight people each week in Canada, with residential fires accounting for 73% of those fatalities.
* Firefighters face challenges every day in the line of duty. It is a strenuous job, both physically and mentally. Take the opportunity to thank those among us that routinely stand up, and stand out, as heroes when disaster strikes. One way to consider thanking local firefighters for efforts is to nominate them for a Medal of Good Citizenship: http://tinyurl.com/o55rqsm
Fire Prevention Week: http://www.firepreventionweek.org
Smoke Alarms Work, But Not Forever: Revisited – Successes and Ongoing Challenges from B.C.’s Working Smoke Alarm Campaign: http://tinyurl.com/pjsl4zm
B.C. Office of the Fire Commissioner: http://www.embc.gov.bc.ca/ofc/
Fire Prevention Canada resource page: http://www.fiprecan.ca/fire-prevention-fact-sheets/