Column: Key factors in home fires, build an escape plan

Capt. Rob Kivell is the Oak Bay Fire Department’s fire prevention officer

Every Home Needs a Fire Escape Plan

A home fire can start much more easily than most people think. In fact, firefighters battle more than 50,000 residential fires in Canada every year. Yet many Canadians may not be prepared if a fire were to strike their home.

Key Factors in Home Fires

The most dangerous room for fire is the kitchen, and grease fires are very often the culprit. Over the past few years, candles have led to more and more home fires. Outside the holiday season, candle fires most often start in the bedroom. Fires caused by cooking and candles can be prevented by never, ever leaving cooking or burning candles unattended.

Most fatal fires start at night. Smoke alone won’t necessarily wake you up — in fact, the fumes could put you into an even deeper sleep. That is why you need a smoke alarm on every floor, near the kitchen and outside all sleeping areas. Test each unit regularly, and replace the batteries regularly. A good way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.

Plan and Practice Your Escape

In addition to properly working smoke alarms, the best defense against a fire is a well-rehearsed, escape plan. Knowing exactly what to do can save precious seconds in the event of a real emergency.

The Canada Safety Council recommends these steps to prepare for a family fire drill:

Draw a floor plan of your house.

Mark two ways out of each room.

Establish a meeting place outside the house.

Be sure each family member has the plan and knows the escape route.

Post your fire escape plan on the fridge or family bulletin board.

Hold a fire drill for your family once or twice a year. Vary the drills, to practice escaping from different fire sources.

For further information please contact the Oak Bay Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division 250-592-9121.

This week: March 5 to 11 Oak Bay Fire Department members responded to 25 calls for assistance.

These calls for assistance included:

17 – Medical Aid

3 – Residential / Commercial Alarm Bells

3 – Public Assistance

1 – Motor Vehicle Incident

1 – Compressed Gas Leak

Capt. Rob Kivell is the Oak Bay Fire Department’s fire prevention officer.

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