Keeping your family fire safe begins at home

In spring and fall when the clocks change for Daylight Savings, firefighters encourage families to also change the batteries in smoke detectors. But it’s also the perfect time to go over fire safety drills with your kids.

Racheal McCaig says she doesn’t leave the onus solely on schools to ensure her children know what to do in case of a fire.

The mother of two practises safety drills at home with her family to ensure they’re aware of the alternative exits in each part of the house.

“I think sometimes we lull ourselves into a false sense of security, that we’ll always be safe at home and we forget because we hear of the kids doing drills at school and we take it for granted,” said McCaig. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

McCaig said it’s imperative for parents and children alike to be aware of fire prevention, as parents tend to overlook possible hazards.

“Parents tend to forget not to overload the sockets or forget to unplug night lights,” she said. “It’s often our kids that remind us if we’re doing something that may not be quite safe.”

But some are still not getting the message when it comes to fire safety, said Captain Mike Strapko, of the Toronto Fire Services.

Parents must ensure there are working smoke alarms on every floor, preferably in every bedroom of the house.

Having a working smoke alarm gives occupants the early warning in the initial stages of a fire before it gets out of hand, said Strapko, a 25-year veteran.

“It gives you those precious seconds to get out of the house or apartment,” he said. “It’s also important to have an escape plan actually drawn out and rehearsed with the entire family so that everybody knows at least two ways out and where the meeting place is outside so you account for everybody. Then call 911 from a neighbour’s home or use a cell phone.”

Four important tips to keep your family fire safe

1. Have working smoke alarms and ensure they are operational by
frequently checking the batteries.
2. Plan and practice a fire escape plan with the whole family.
3. Never leave a candle unattended especially if you have children or pets because they easily knock it over not realizing the potential danger it could cause.
4. Once you get out, you stay out. Toronto firefighters have encountered situations where people might want to retrieve pets, valuables or go back into the blaze to look for other family members. He said this could be a fatal mistake and that rescues should be left to firefighters.

– Source: Toronto Fire Services

About this article:

By: Matthew Cohen
Posted: Mar 29 2010 11:03 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto