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The first week of October brings us cooler weather and shorter days – we start to think about turning on the heat to keep the house warm – it also is Fire Prevention week throughout North America. Fire Prevention week dates back to the great Chicago Fire more than 140 years ago. The great fire was allegedly started by a cow knocking over a lamp. Now not many of us have cows at home any longer providing us with fresh dairy products but we are still trying to prevent fires from occurring.

Each year in Ontario people are still dying in fires that occur in homes. Each year we hear about families displaced by fires. Yet each year we continue to educate people on the importance of smoke alarms – how many is that I need again? That's right one on every level of your home. Of course they need batteries or power to work – who knew that when disconnected they can't do what they need to do – warn you and your family about a fire in your home.

Knowing what to do when you hear the fire alarm or smoke alarm is important whether at work, at home or at play. Do you know where you are going to meet with your family when the smoke alarm or fire alarm rings? Have your talked with your elderly parents about how they are going to get out of their home should a fire start? Fire safety is a lifelong exercise.

All too often a fire starts due to some sort of careless action – when you are in the kitchen and you are cooking, stay there – after all on top of the stove is heat fuel and oxygen – it only takes a second for a fire to start. If your pot does catch on fire don't move it – have you ever tried to carry a campfire in your hands? Just put a lid on the pan and the fire will go out.

Take a moment right now – do you know where your nearest exit is? Is it clear? Where will you meet your family or co-workers in an emergency?

When you turn on heating appliances you increase the chance that Carbon Monoxide might be lurking in your home. Carbon Monoxide is a clear, tasteless gas – you can't see it or smell it. Carbon Monoxide alarms are an important part of your family's safety. If you have fuel burning appliances – install a Carbon Monoxide alarm in a place where you can hear it when you are sleeping.

This year make it you goal to prevent fires from occurring – preventing fires is by far the best way to prevent injury, loss or even death.

Greg Nicol

Fire Prevention Inspector

Owen Sound Fire and Emergency Services


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