Do you have a plan to get out of your home or business in the event of a fire?
Having a plan in place could very well save your life, or that of your loved ones or colleagues at work.
Making sure you have a plan is the focus of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Prevention Week messages being rolled out from coast to coast Oct. 7-14.
The St. John’s Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) is joining forces with the NFPA to remind local residents to “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware — fire can happen anywhere.”
This message works to remind the public that fires can and do still happen — at home, as well as other locations — and that there are basic but vitally important steps people can take to remain safe.
“These safety messages are applicable to any type of building,” said Capt. Mike Maher of the St. John’s Regional Fire Department.
“This is especially critical because of the construction of homes in recent years. The lightweight construction materials that are being used now, the open concepts of the homes, electronics, synthetic furnishings, items that give off toxins, don’t allow you to get out as quickly as they used to,’’ he added.
Based on recent studies, Maher said, a person’s escape time is estimated at two to three minutes, whereas 20 years ago it was about 10 minutes.
Based on the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week, the three simple calls to action help identify the ways to reduce risk to fire and how to be prepared if one does occur.
Maher said homeowners should look for places where a fire could start, check and listen for the sound of a smoke alarm and learn two ways to get out of a room.
“At times, people take safety for granted and are not aware of the risk of fire,” Maher said.
“Knowing your surroundings, looking for available exits, and taking the smoke alarm seriously can make a potentially life-saving difference in a fire or other emergency situation,” he added.
Having an evacuation plan in place and practicing it is essential, and it should be done at least twice a year, once in the daylight and once at night to ensure its success.
Maher said social media has been a great tool to help educate the public on fire safety, and he encourages people to use whatever means necessary to ensure their safety and that of their loved ones.
“People are being proactive in finding out about safety. They drop by our booth at the mall, ask a lot of great safety questions, get some of our literature and we even have people inquire about how to join the department,’’ he said.
Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country and is one of the longest-running public health and safety events on record.
In recognition of Fire Prevention Week, the St. John’s Regional Fire Department has a host of events taking place throughout its region, and invites children and adults of all ages to come and enjoy the festivities and learn all about fire safety.
These activities include the following:
There will be an open house at West End, Mount Pearl and Paradise fire stations on
Saturday, Oct. 6 from 2-5 p.m. There will be various types of firefighting equipment on display for the public. This will also provide a great opportunity for citizens to meet and speak to firefighters and fire prevention staff, who will be happy to provide any safety tips.
Fire prevention display booth
Located at the Avalon Mall from Oct. 9-13
Hours are as follows:
Tuesday 1-9:30 p.m.
Wednesday 1-9:30 p.m.
Thursday 1-9:30 p.m.
Friday 1-9:30 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fire safety information brochures are available and fire prevention staff will be there to
answer safety questions.
School visits and fire drills
Members of the SJRFD will visit schools in the region and talk with students and staff about fire safety, as well as conduct and evaluate school fire drills.
Fire chief for a day
Children between the ages of seven and 12 in Grades 4-6 are eligible
to enter the Fire Prevention Week poster contest. To enter, children must create an 8 ½
x 11 poster, using the theme “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire Can Happen Anywhere.”
For more information on Fire Prevention Week visit www.sjrfd.ca