Health and safety are top-of-mind as we spend more time at home, but many Canadians are still underprepared when it comes to home safety. For Fire Prevention Month this October, First Alert, the most trusted brand in fire safety*, and fire service professionals are joining forces to share important safety reminders to help ensure your family and home are protected from the threats of smoke and fire.
“We are very excited to be continuing our partnership with First Alert to better provide our communities with the tools and knowledge necessary to decrease fire incidents,” said Troy Mutch, national president, Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association (CVFSA). “By combining our efforts with First Alert we can better ensure long-term safety for all.”
“The best defense against a home emergency is prevention,” said Fire Chief Cynthia Ross Tustin, president of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC). “Check to ensure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.”
According to the Canadian National Fire Information Database, 80 per cent of fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, often due to missing alarm batteries or expired alarms. Even if you have smoke alarms in your home, you and your family may not be sufficiently protected.
“Now is the perfect time to enhance your home’s safety by having working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on every level and in every bedroom, and to take additional safety measures to help ensure you are prepared,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert.
First Alert and firefighters across the nation encourage you to be ready for the unexpected this Fire Prevention Month and protect your home with the following safety reminders:
- Every level, every bedroom: For protection and peace of mind, install smoke alarms on each level of the home, including the basement, and in every bedroom, and install CO alarms on every level and near all sleeping areas.
- Test and maintain: Once alarms are installed, it’s important to maintain your alarms by testing them regularly and changing the batteries every six months if you have battery-powered alarms. For convenient protection and to eliminate battery replacements and late-night battery chirps for a decade, upgrade to First Alert 10-Year Sealed Battery Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms.
- Alarms don’t last forever: Replace outdated units. If you cannot remember the last time you installed an alarm, chances are, it’s time to replace it. Alarms are on duty 24/7 and need to be replaced at least every 10 years.
- Don’t forget about CO: In the fall and into the colder months of the year, the risk of CO poisoning increases dramatically. CO is an invisible, odourless gas produced by fuel-burning devices such as stoves, generators and fireplaces, and can only be detected with a CO alarm. Make sure to install CO alarms in your home.
- P.A.S.S. the fire extinguishers: Beyond alarms, having fire extinguishers – and knowing how to use them – is an important part of maintaining a safe home for you and your family. Place fire extinguishers in convenient locations such as the kitchen and garage, and on every level of the home. Adults in the household should learn how to properly operate a fire extinguisher using the acronym P.A.S.S. Simply pull the pin, aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, squeeze the trigger and sweep from side to side.
“With more people cooking, it’s even more important to include fire extinguishers as part of a home safety plan. They should be within reach of the kitchen area,” said Wey.
Once alarms and fire extinguishers are properly installed in your home, don’t forget about your escape plan. “Smoke and CO alarms provide early warning in case of emergency, but it is equally important to have an escape plan in place and know what to do if an alarm sounds,” added Wey.
Unfortunately, only 56 per cent of Canadians have established a fire escape plan, and even less have practiced it.** Involve everyone in your household when developing an emergency escape plan. Identify two exits out of each room, including windows and doors, and set a dedicated meeting spot outside. Once outside, stay outside and call 911. Practice your escape plan with the entire family at least twice a year.
To learn more about how to be prepared to keep your family and home safe from smoke, fire and CO, visit firstalert.ca/firepreventionmonth/.