A unique initiative launched in Nova Scotia today, Oct. 1, will encourage youth to become leaders in fire safety.
The Nova Scotia Office of the Fire Marshal is participating in a national initiative that provides teachers across the country with lesson plans on fire safety, and encourages every household to test and replace their smoke alarms during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5-11.
“We’re thrilled to have the participation of our fire departments in this national program of the Council of Canadian Fire Marshals and Fire Commissioners,” said Harold Pothier, Nova Scotia’s Fire Marshal. “Fire departments and school teachers in our communities have long had a unique partnership in teaching children about fire safety that can leave a lasting impression on students and prevent tragedies years down the road.”
The initiative is expected to reach up to 100,000 students across Canada during Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month! It will be supported by local fire departments and the campaign’s website www.safeathome.ca .
“Fire is very unpredictable and can travel a lot faster than most people think,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Mark Furey. “This initiative is a great way to educate our youth on the importance of fire safety and, through them, educate their parents as students will take this information into their homes.
“The potential benefits of a successful national outreach are enormous,” said Duane McKay, president of the national council. “In more than half of fatal fires, investigators find no working smoke alarms. Fire safety programs that focus on youth deliver the fire safety fundamentals they need to know to escape a burning home, while motivating parents to test and maintain their smoke alarms.”
Parents should watch for Test and Replace homework pages, which include a home fire escape planning sheet and a safety checklist. Once completed, parents and youth can register their home at www.safeathome.ca/testandreplace and download a certificate of completion for students to take back to class.
Smoke alarms are required on every storey of homes and outside all sleeping areas. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and batteries should be replaced at least once a year. If it is more than 10 years old, even if the alarm sounds when the test button is pushed, it should be replaced as cooking and dust can deteriorate the sensor over time.
More details on the initiative can be found at www.safeathome.ca/testandreplace .
During Fire Prevention Week in Nova Scotia, Mr. Furey, the Office of the Fire Marshal, first responders and other partners will hold a live twitter chat on fire safety Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #nsfiresafety.