“Go home and check your smoke alarms.”
That message from Julian Hedrich, Fire Safety Codes Officer with the City of Red Deer during Fire Prevention Week October 7 – 13.
Hedrich says this year they have a ‘Look, Listen, Learn’ campaign underway to mark the occasion.
“Look at the possible ignition sources in your home, if the smoke alarm activates, we want you to react to it, get out of the house, stay out of the house, call 9-1-1 and basically stay low and go,” he explains. “We also want you to practice your home escape plan. You should practice with your family, there should be two ways out of every room and you should have two points to meet just in case you can’t get to one outside on your property.”
With cold temperatures upon us, Hedrich encourages people to really be aware of the possible ignition sources in their home such as unattended cooking and improperly discarded cigarettes, the leading causes of residential fires.
“You might have already started that fireplace, the furnace is on, your cooking,” outlines Hedrich. “Just be mindful of those ignition sources that you’re using more so in the winter than you are in the summer. There are a lot of cases where a simple fire that took out a kitchen or maybe even a house, could have been avoided just by paying attention to the ignition sources in the home."
He adds that fire prevention is really a year-round focus for them.
”We have our ‘After the Fire’ program where if there’s a big fire in the area, some of you may have seen us visit your homes aftre a big fire, we like to let residents know what caused the fire and how those can be prevented in the home,” says Hedrich. “We also have our grade 3 and our grade 7 program where we assign firefighters each a few schools and they’ll go and they’ll organize a one-hour fire safety presentation with the teachers and we’ll go through everything.”
Hedrich says their Home Safety Check program is another fire prevention initiative in their arsenal.
“We visit every house in Red Deer once in a 10-year cycle,” he explains. “We have actually a little book that we hand out to all residents and we’ll go through smoke alarms, home safety plans, if you have a sprinkler system, carbon monoxide and we’ll just make sure you’re really being safe and aware of the hazards in your home.”
Additional fire prevention tips from Hedrich include checking your smoke alarm monthly to ensure that it works and will save lives, changing the battery on your smoke alarm yearly and replacing smoke alarms when they are 10-years-old.
Fire Prevention Week has been held annually since 1922 and commemorates the Great Fire of Chicago that started on October 8, 1871, leaving 250 people dead, 100,000 homeless and destroying 17,400 structures.
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