Sidney firefighter Greg Holton holds up a smoke detector. They should be checked every month to see if they still work. They could save your life. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Fire Prevention Week on the Saanich Peninsula: Plan your way out of a house fire

Teach them early, and hopefully the lessons will stick later in life — and with their parents.

That’s one of the reasons local firefighters are taking Grade 4 and 5 students through lessons in fire safety in the lead up to Fire Prevention Week. Saanich Peninsula fire departments worked together recently, on their annual Fire Safety Expo — and their theme is the same as this year’s Fire Prevention Week in Canada: Every Second Counts: Plan two ways out.

Central Saanich Fire Chief Chris Vrabel says the key work on that, is plan.

“Fire and smoke moves faster that we do,” he said, “so practicing your fire escape plan ensures that you can get out when a fire does break out.”

Just talking about having a plan to get out of your home isn’t enough. Vrabel said parents and their children and other family members need to practice — too see if young kids or elderly relatives will need help to reach an exit. And finding out that window doesn’t open when a fire occurs, is just too late, he said.

North Saanich Deputy Fire Chief Steve Knapp says kids are encouraged to draw up escape maps based on the layout of their homes. That an be shared with their parents and hung up in a prominent place. Knapp said it’s important to have two ways out of your home — in case the main exit (usually the front door) is blocked by fire or debris.

Practicing an escape plan, Knapp added, helps people remember what to do in case there’s really a fire.

“It’s always the last thing on your mind,” he said, adding if they practice it, they won’t have to fight to remember what to do in an actual emergency.

Sidney Deputy Fire Chief Mike Harman says escape plans are important for you home — no matter where you live. The Sidney Fire Department, he said, works with local seniors facilities, to ensure staff are trained in what to do and any issues (such as mobility) are addressed at each place.

“We’re trying to work with seniors and students on fire and earthquake drills,” Harman said, adding as his counterparts do, there are many tools that can help people get out of an emergency situation safely.

Those include working smoke detectors, rope ladders under the beds in upper-floor rooms, fire extinguishers that everyone knows how to use properly and then a meeting place that everyone remembers.

And once those tools are in place and are working alongside an escape plan, people have a much better chance of getting out alive and not feeling the urge to rush back in to a burning building because they forgot something or someone.

“Once you’re out, you’re out,” Harman said. “Don’t go back for anything. Get to your meeting point.”

Just Posted

Peace Walk fundraiser for hospice runs on Sunday

Take a walk, have a snack, and help donate to a local charity

Raccoons making themselves at home on Saanich property

Resident blames neighbour for attracting pests to area

Thousands attend 31st TD Art Gallery Paint-In

Artists display their work along 20 blocks of Moss Street

City of Victoria joins national food waste reduction program

The City is partnering in the Love Food, Hate Waste Program

Details scarce as union confirms probe underway involving Victoria care homes

Island Health, VicPD offer no comment on report of investigation into alleged sexual assaults

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Brush fire breaks out west of Port Alberni

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 heading to Ucluelet and Tofino

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Most Read