Since 2009, there have been 43 reportable structure fires in Oak Bay. They include 34 in single-family dwellings, six in multiple-family dwellings such as apartments and townhouses and three at educational facilities, including day cares and the University of Victoria.
While house fires in Oak Bay are not common, most can be prevented, said Oak Bay fire Capt. Ken Gill.
Oct. 6 to 12 is Fire Prevention Week nationally, and around the region area fire departments will be reinforcing their safety message.
“The main thing we always stress and emphasize during fire prevention week is the importance of a working smoke alarm,” said Gill. “Despite everything else, it’s the number one key item.”
To help residents ensure they have a working smoke detector, the Oak Bay fire department has a program which helps maintain and install smoke alarms for those in need.
“We will assist our residents with changing the batteries and if they are in an economic situation where they cannot obtain a smoke alarm we can provide a smoke alarm for them. We don’t want any resident to go unprotected,” said Gill.
During fire prevention week the Oak Bay department will stop at a number of locations including the municipal hall, library, Monterey Centre, Oak Bay and Henderson recreation centres and each of the area schools to conduct evacuation drills and reinforce the importance of quick response to fire alarms.
On Wednesday morning, schools will compete to win the challenge trophy for the fastest building evacuation.
“We’ve been doing the school evacuation drills every year since 1959,” said Gill.
For more information on any of the programs the Oak Bay fire department provides, contact them at 250-592-9121.