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Every Second Counts: Plan two ways out

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Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE) is encouraging residents to take some time this week to develop a fire escape plan for their home.

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This is national Fire Prevention Week and the theme is, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out”.

“Whether it’s a house fire or a routine fire inspection, we’re seeing far too many dangerous situations where people have just one way out,” said HRFE Fire Prevention Division Chief, Matt Covey.

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Covey said it’s common to see people place storage boxes or other obstacles against a seldom used exit. “When that door is needed the most, it’s not accessible. And that really matters when every second counts,” Covey said.

Fire Prevention Week is an annual awareness campaign focused on measures people should take to make their homes safer. This year’s national campaign stresses the value in having a home fire escape plan that includes working smoke alarms and mapping out at least two escape plans from every room in your house.

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HRFE is launching a week-long school awareness campaign to encourage children to take this valuable life-saving message home to their families.

Statistics show that, on average, fire kills eight people each week in Canada, with residential fires accounting for 73 per cent of these fatalities.

The following tips will be highlighted throughout the campaign:

  • All home fire safety plans start with working smoke alarms. Test them frequently
  • Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits and a path to the outside from each exit
  • Practise your home fire drill twice a year, ideally once at night and once during the day
  • Teach children where the exits are, and to stay low under smoke in case a parent or guardian can’t help
  • Children should recognize the sound of a smoke alarm and the reason it is sounding
  • Close doors as you leave (if it’s safe to do so), as this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire
  • Once outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building
  • Have a designated meeting place outside of the home
  • Make sure your civic address is clearly marked on the outside of your home for emergency responders

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The fire department is also launching two fire prevention contests, one for school-aged children and one for adults. Twenty-five iPads will be randomly drawn (five per day) each day for those who correctly answer a series of fire-prevention questions. The contest begins today (Tuesday) and finishes on Sunday, Oct. 15.

For details on this year’s campaign and how to enter the contest, go to: www.halifax.ca/fireprevention

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Source: Media Release

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