Fire Prevention Week is held annually by fire departments across North America. Fire Prevention Day was proclaimed in Canada in 1919 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, as well as a major fire that destroyed the Center Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa on February 3, 1916. In 1922, Fire Prevention Day expanded into Fire Prevention Week.
The theme of Fire Prevention Week this year is Fire will not wait. Plan your escape.
A hundred years ago, typical home contents and construction materials burned more slowly than the plastic, synthetic, and lightweight products found in homes today. Houses are burning faster than ever, so today you have less than two minutes to get out of the house from the time your smoke alarms go off.
“Working smoke alarms and a home escape plan are the two most important factors when it comes to keeping you and your family safe in the event of a fire,” says Jeff Budai, community safety coordinator at the Calgary Fire Department. “With less than two minutes to get out of your house, there is no time to think; you must take action. We want all Calgarians to stay safe by creating an escape plan and practicing it with all members of their family.”
Unfortunately, the Calgary Fire Department saw an increase in fires in 2022; 306 residential fires occurred from January 1 to August 31 this year, compared to 294 residential fires during the same time last year, highlighting the need to develop a home escape plan. The Calgary Fire Department offers the following tips:
- Your home escape plan should include two ways out of each sleeping area and a designated meeting place outside, a safe distance from your home.
- Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working and everyone recognizes the sounds and knows how to get out.
- Practice your escape plan at least twice a year and share your plan with overnight guests.
Ideally, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on every level of your home, including basements.
Family-friendly open houses
To help Calgarians learn more about fire prevention and how to create escape plans, the Calgary Fire Department is hosting four open houses across the city. October 9 from 1pm to 4pm Calgarians of all ages are invited to stop by to talk to the firefighters, tour the trucks and enter to win great prizes.
The location of the open houses is as follows:
- SE Calgary – Station 30, 6 McKenzie Towne Gate SE
- SW Calgary – Station 37, 2511 Everside Avenue SW
- NE Calgary – Station 31, 11955 Country Village Link NE
- NW Calgary – Station 42, 275 Tuscany Way NW
The Calgary Fire Department will also be at the Genesis Centre October 15, from 09:00 to 15:00., to share fire prevention information. Calgarians are encouraged to stop by to talk to the firefighters about preparing their own home escape plans.
Smoke alarm goes off in South Hill
Every year during Fire Prevention Week, the Calgary Fire Department visits a community with smoke alarms in hand, and offers to install new smoke alarms for free. This year they will be in the South Hill Mobile Home Park on the evening of October 13 to test, and where necessary, install or provide smoke alarms for residents of that community. The Calgary Fire Department will be joined by ATCO, which will provide residents with carbon monoxide alarms.
For more information on fire prevention and Fire Prevention Week activities, please visit calgary.ca/firepreventionweek.
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