This week is Fire Prevention Week, and this year’s theme is “Fire won’t wait, plan your escape”.
That’s according to Parry Sound Fire Chief Dave Thompson, who says one of the most important things in a household is for the family to know what the plan is in case of a fire.
Thompson says for that to happen, they need to know what are the needs of their family in terms of any sensory or physical disabilities that may have to be taken into consideration when planning an escape route. He says everyone should know at least two ways out of their bedroom, which in most people’s houses consists of one window and the doorway.
“Of course for the kids, they sleep really heavily and if you haven’t talked about these things ahead of time, when they wake up they’re very disoriented. They need to know those things that sound like common sense to many of us, but we should be talking to especially our kids about that,” Thompson adds.
He says the last thing would be making sure everyone understands where the meeting place is outside in case of fire. “The best thing everyone can do is know exactly where you’re going to get together and when people get there, take a (head) count. That way you’ll know when the fire department shows up if anyone’s missing or if everyone’s all accounted for,” Thompson says.
Thompson says when it comes to kids, it’s all about practice, practice, practice. He says the best way to get the plan in their heads is to do it numerous times, which can be repetitive and not as fun for the little ones. “So I would suggest that you turn these kinds of events into a game and you can do that by maybe timing everyone making it into a race so that there’s a little bit of competition involved,” he adds.
And in case you have any pets at home, Thompson says one thing the fire department can provide to any resident in town is labels that can be put on their door which clearly identify any animals that are in the house along with other details.
However, Thompson says what he really encourages everyone to do is to get out of the house as quickly as possible. “Today’s building materials burn very fast and very hot and it’s extremely important that you get out and that you get to your meeting place and call 911 as quickly as you can. When the fire department shows up you can then provide them with the details of anyone who is missing or what pets are in the house or any of those types of details,” he says.
As for general fire prevention, Thompson says first of all there is no daytime fire burning in any of the West Parry Sound areas until at least after November 1st. He says in the rural municipalities, you can’t have daytime burning without a permit for those sites, after November 1st you can burn in the daytime.
“In the town of Parry Sound, we don’t want anyone burning leaves at all. We do pick up for all the leaves in town, and people can gather them, put them on the curb, and the public works department will come around,” he says. As for those in places where they can burn leaves, Thompson says one thing to consider is where is the smoke going. “Leaves of course are very smokey and there are lots of instances where that smoke trips right over the top of a roadway or a highway and impedes the visibility of cars. So there are many things to be concerned about, and if at all possible I would encourage everyone to compost leaves and use them as fertilizer,” he says