This week, October 7 to 12, is Fire Prevention Week and this years’ theme is “Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and Practise your Escape”. This theme is about recognizing the unassuming but heroic efforts of everyday people who take the important steps to keep themselves, their families and their loved ones safe from fire.

Studies show that in the past, people had approximately 17 minutes to escape a typical home fire – now we may have as little as two minutes from the time the smoke alarm sounds to get out safely. Escape planning and practise can help you make the most of the moments you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.

When creating a home escape plan, you should:

  • Draw a map of each level of your home, showing all doors and windows;
  • Check each room and identify the two possible ways out;
  • Task someone with helping children, older adults and people with disabilities wake up and get out, and
  • Choose a meeting place outside and away from the home where everyone can meet.

Once you have a plan and everyone knows what to do and where to go, practise it:

  • Push the “test” button on your smoke alarm to start the drill, which is also a good way to check that it is working.
  • Pretend the halls are filled with smoke. Get low and go. Get out fast.
  • Try using different ways out each time and close doors behind you as you leave.
  • Always go to your outdoor meeting place.

Learn more from the Office of the Fire Commissioner, and check out the official proclamation signed by the attorney General and Lieutenant Governor.

Madeline L. Maley, RPF
Assistant Deputy Minister Response Operations
Emergency Management BC
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