In honour of Fire Prevention Week, Lt. Insp. Sean Lillis of the Saanich Fire Department answered questions about escape plans, carbon monoxide detectors, fireworks and more.
Why is it important to have an escape plan at home?
Having an escape plan can save time and lives because after the smoke alarm goes off, there’s a one- to two-minute window to get out of the building, Lillis explained. Today’s materials burn faster and fires double in size every 30 seconds, so there isn’t time to think about an escape route during an emergency.
Will the fire department come check for possible carbon monoxide leaks?
Carbon monoxide detectors are available for purchase as are smoke and carbon monoxide combination detectors, Lillis explained. However, if residents have a concerns about carbon monoxide, the fire department can come and inspect the area.
A non-urgent carbon monoxide inspection can be set up by calling the Saanich Fire Department fire dispatch line at 250-475-6111. However, in an emergency – if you smell gas or the detector is going off – it’s important to get outside where there’s fresh air and then call 911, said Lillis.
How often do fire extinguishers need to be tested?
Fire extinguishers need to be tested by a registered company annually, Lillis explained.
Various things can go wrong with an extinguisher, he said. For example, the powder inside the canister is under pressure and can be turned into a pellet if left unchecked for too long.
The canister itself needs to be tested by a registered company every six years, he explained.
Fire extinguishers should also be given a visual inspection on a monthly basis to ensure everything looks okay. This can be done at home, said Lillis. Give the extinguisher a once over and ensure the pressure gauge is still in the green.
How often should smoke detectors be changed?
Smoke detectors have a 10-year lifespan, Lillis explained. If your smoke detector has turned from white to yellow, it’s too old.
There is an expiry date sticker on the outside of the detector. The Saanich Fire Department offers a program where someone from Fire Prevention will come to assist with checking, installing and maintaining detectors for folks who aren’t able to do it themselves.
Fire Prevention can be reached at 250-475-5500.
Are fireworks allowed in Saanich?
Fireworks cannot be bought or sold in Saanich, but they can be set off on a private residence by someone with a permit, Lillis explained.
Anyone over 18 who is interested in setting off fireworks can take the workshop offered by the Saanich Fire Department to obtain a permit. The course is offered annually in October and must be retaken every three years.
Visit the District of Saanich website for information about Halloween fireworks and bonfires.
The National Fire Prevention Association’s 2019 Fire Prevention Week runs from Oct. 6 to 12.