This week from October 8 to October 14, 2017, marks Fire Prevention week across Canada. This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts : Plan 2 Ways Out!”
Do you have a fire safety plan for your home? If you have a fire, how will you get out safely? How will you get your loved ones out? Where will you meet to make sure everyone is accounted for? What steps have you taken to prevent fires from occurring or spreading in your home?
Chances are if you are like most Ontarians you may not have a quick answer to these questions. Fire Prevention week offers an opportunity to practice fire safety and protect your family and your home.
In Ontario, fire safety planning is mandatory for all workplaces and mandatory for many types of buildings. However, the Ontario Fire Code does not mandate that all residences have a plan. Nonetheless, protecting your home and your loved ones should make setting up a plan an easy decision.
Fire safety planning should be a family affair. Plan and practice will all members of your household. So once you decide that you want to set up a plan what should you do? The City of Toronto offers an online fire prevention and planning safety kit. There are many websites and resources available. Consider contacting your local fire hall and ask for advice.
Fire experts recommend preparing in advance considering the following steps:
- Assess the needs of everyone in your home – Identify those such as children, the elderly or the disabled that need assistance to get out safely.
- Ensure that there are working smoke alarms on every floor and outside all sleeping areas. Everyone should know what the alarm sounds like.
- Know all possible doors, windows or other exits and ensure they work. Try to identify at least 2 ways out of any area.
- Ensure everyone in the home knows what to do if there is a fire or the alarm goes off. Designate one person to assist those that need help. Have a designated meeting spot out of the home on a neighbour’s property. Call the fire department from outside the home.
- Practice your safety plan at least twice a year.
A fire safety plan should be easy to follow and understand. Draw out the floor plan of your house with windows and doors. Draw arrows showing all ways out of all rooms.
Draw a location which is safely out of the home for a designated meeting place. Post your fire safety plan so people can see it.
In the event of a fire, move quickly to exit the home. Once outside stay outside, never go back into a burning building. Smoke, dangerous gases and heat tend to rise. Cover your airways with clothing or a towel and crawl to the nearest exit. If you plan to exit through a closed window, try to close the door before opening the window. This can prevent a draft from fanning the fire into the room. If your clothes catch fire, stop drop and roll. If you are trapped in a room, try to keep the fire and smoke from entering by closing the door and placing a towel at the bottom.
As Toronto Fire Services states: Plan your escape today… Your life may depend on it tomorrow.”