October 9th to 15th is this year’s Fire Prevention Week, and Moose FM spoke with a local firefighter to learn more about the 100-year anniversary of the awareness campaign.
Shannon Armitage says the theme for this year is “fire won’t wait, plan your escape,” encouraging families to create a fire escape plan, and practice it to make sure it’s second nature in the event of an emergency.
“Typically, you have one to two minutes to get out safely once your smoke alarm sounds. So if mom’s going out one door, dad’s going out another, and they both get outside and they don’t know where the kids are, that’s a problem,” she explains. “So, having an escape plan is knowing what your duty is when the smoke alarm goes off.”
Outside of the theme, Armitage also has another piece of safety advice for people: make sure you’re doing regular maintenance on whatever you use to keep your home warm in the winter.
“The fall is when all our heating appliances start firing up, because the warm weather’s gone, so we really, really recommend that your furnaces get checked annually by a technician, your wood stoves get cleaned, and your chimneys get cleaned,” she says.
“Not only do you want to have a good plan for when something happens,” she continues, “but you want to avoid those potential hazards. So, annual cleaning of your fuel burning appliance is paramount. It’s chimney fire season, so we ask that folks go ahead and clean their chimneys before using them, and it’ll really help reduce the chimney fires this season.”
Fire Prevention Week is organized annually by the National Fire Protection Association, a nonprofit organization that works to reduce the impact of fires on peoples’ lives. You can read more about the campaign on the organization’s website.