Fire Prevention Week is underway, and the Airdrie Fire Department (AFD) is working hard to ensure fire safety is top of mind.
This year’s theme is ‘Not all heroes wear a cape – plan and practice your escape,’ which AFD Deputy Chief Linda Masson said is poignant and relevant.
“All our children go to school and they plan and practice their fire escape [through fire drills],” she said. “But it’s just as important that those plans happen at home, too.
“When a fire starts and the alarm goes, [that] is not the time to begin planning. Everyone needs to create an escape plan with all your family members, and make sure everyone practices it, so you know what to do and how to escape quickly and safely.”
Masson said knowing ahead of time how to evacuate your home quickly can be life-saving, as fires can rapidly double in size.
She added residents should ensure there are two ways out of every room in the home, in the event of a fire.
“You never know which way out may be blocked,” she said. “Also, make sure everyone is included in your escape plan, including pets. Often times, people stop to try and find their pets.”
In the event of a house fire, Masson added, wait until you are in a safe place to call 911.
“You need to have a meeting place that everyone knows, so if you get separated, people are going to the right spot,” she said.
To mark the yearly initiative, AFD hosted a variety of events Oct. 5 to 9, including the department’s annual ATCO Fire Safety Day Oct. 5 at Chinook Winds station. The event featured several interactive activities and presentations pertaining to fire safety, along with tours of AFD fire engines and photo opportunities with Sparky the Fire Dog – the official mascot of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Department members also held multiple presentations throughout the week at locations around Airdrie, including elementary schools and the Woodside Golf Club.
On top of all of that, AFD kicked off its annual Home Safety Program Oct. 7. Throughout the month, firefighters will go door-to-door in Silver Creek, Prairie Springs and Thorburn to review home-safety checklists with residents, while also checking and installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, where needed.
“It’s really important to be sure that you are your first line of defence for you and your family,” Masson said.
Fire Prevention Week is recognized internationally, according to NFPA’s website, and takes place during the week of Oct. 9 – commemorating the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed more than 17,000 buildings and killed an estimated 300 people.
“Fire safety is important every week of every year,” Masson said, “but we take this week, in particular, to celebrate that and really focus attention on ensuring people understand fire safety.”