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Not every hero wears a cape -- practise your fire escape

Sep 30, 2019 | Fire | General

Orangeville Fire is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week, to promote this year’s message: Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practise your escape!

The campaign works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe. Orangeville Fire Chief Ronald Morden is urging area families to practise their home escape plan as part of Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12, 2019.

In Canada, most fire deaths occur in the home, where people believe they are most safe. Ontario fire services respond to roughly 11,000 fires annually, which cause many deaths and injuries. “We believe most fires are preventable,” Chief Morden says. “We know that properly installed and maintained smoke alarms in your home and knowing what to do when they sound, will reduce the number of fire deaths.”

“Fire and smoke move faster than you,” said Chief Morden. “In a typical home fire, there’s no time to figure out how to escape your home after the fire has started and the alarms are sounding.”

Research shows that 30 years ago you had about 17 minutes to escape a house fire. Today, you may have less than three minutes. The reason: newer homes and the furniture in them burn faster, hotter, and create more toxic smoke. Legacy furniture was made of natural materials such as wood, wool and cotton. This type of furniture takes longer to burn and does not create toxic smoke like modern furniture does. Modern furniture is made from particle board, plastic and fabrics that contain blends of nylon and polyester. These materials burn faster, a lot faster, and create deadly smoke!

Here are some things to consider when developing your home escape plan:

  • Assess the needs of everyone in your home; determine who will assist small children and those who require assistance evacuating the home
  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home
  • Ensure you have working smoke and CO alarms outside every sleeping area of your home
  • Identify all possible exits (doors and windows) and make sure they open. Know two ways out of every room, if possible
  • Everyone must know what to do if the alarm sounds: identify a safe meeting place that is located outside, at the front of your home and call the fire service from outside the home using your cell phone or the neighbour’s phone
  • Practise your escape plan at least twice a year -- have everyone participate and make changes if necessary
  • If you live in an apartment building be familiar with the evacuation procedures; if uncertain, contact the building manager or superintendent