Fire Prevention Week

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A good home fire escape plan starts with early detection and warning — and that means smoke alarms.

In Ontario the law requires that you must have working smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test your smoke alarms monthly simply by pushing the test button to make sure they're working properly. Change the batteries at least once a year and if your smoke alarms are more than ten years old they should be replaced with new ones.

Once you've taken care of your smoke alarms, the next step is to sit down with every member of your household and talk about all possible ways that you can get out of your house if there was a fire. Identify all possible exit routes and two ways out of every room if possible. In a fire you need to act and you need to act fast; there's no time for confusion. So make sure everyone knows all possible ways out.

Make sure someone is going to help young children, older adults or anyone in the home who might require assistance to evacuate.

Choose a safe meeting place outside, well away from the home. Call the fire department from outside using a cell phone or a neighbour's phone — and never re-enter a burning building.

Once you've identified all possible ways out of your home, make sure doors or windows that you might use as exits work properly and are clear of obstructions. Keep things like foot wear, sports equipment, children's packsacks well clear of doorways. You don't need to be stumbling over these things in the middle of the night.

For more information about home fire escape planning or fire safety, contact your local fire department.