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Be Prepared to Avoid Tragedy


April 9, 2013 – Thunder Bay Fire Rescue is encouraging residents to make sure they have working smoke alarms in their homes following recent tragedies across the Province.

“Smoke alarms save lives,” said Deputy Fire Chief Greg Hankkio, “Every home is required by law to have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. These can be hard-wired or battery-operated depending on when your home was built.  Both types meet the smoke alarm standard and are equally effective and acceptable under the Ontario Fire Code.  If you do not have a smoke alarm on every storey of your home, it is vital that you install them as soon as possible.”

Residents are urged to test their smoke alarms every month by pressing the test button. If the alarms fail to sound and it is a hard-wired smoke alarm, have it looked at right away. If it is a battery-operated smoke alarm, make sure that the battery is installed correctly or install a new battery. If the alarm still fails to sound, replace the smoke alarm with a new one. Batteries should be replaced every year.

Smoke alarms don’t last forever. Replace smoke alarms with new ones if they are more than 10-years-old. Only working smoke alarms can give you the early warning you need to safely escape a fire. There is no time to spare in a fire. When you hear the alarm, you must get out immediately.

“Just as important as having working smoke alarms is making sure everyone in your home knows exactly what to do to escape, BEFORE a fire occurs,” added Deputy Chief Hankkio. "Develop a Home Fire Escape Plan and practice it with the entire household."

Simple steps for home fire escape planning include:

  • Determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults or anyone else with cognitive or physical limitations or who may require additional assistance, to escape.
  • Make sure everyone knows two ways out of your residence.
  • Check that all exits are unobstructed and easy to access.
  • Designate a meeting place outside the home, such as a tree or a lamp post, where everyone can be accounted for.
  • Call the Fire Department from outside the home from a cell phone or neighbour’s home.
  • Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building.
  • Practice your Home Fire Escape Plan with everyone in your household.

For people who live in apartment buildings and need assistance to escape:

  • Make sure you tell the superintendent or landlord if you need assistance.
  • Make sure your name is added to the “persons who require assistance” list in the Fire Safety Plan, so the Fire Department knows which apartment you are in.
  • Know the emergency procedures outlined in the building’s Fire Safety Plan.

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Contact: Anthony Stokaluk, Public Education Officer, Thunder Bay Fire Rescue 625-2802 or mobile: 631-7033