(District of Saanich)

Parts of Vancouver Island and the mainland have now reached the highest level of drought rating. 

While BC is all too aware of fire safety in our beloved forests and parks, we often neglect our own home’s fire safety situation.

This week is BC’s 100th Fire Prevention Week, which focuses on keeping British Columbians fire-safe in their homes and workplaces.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week. The theme is ‘Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape,’” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.

“Today’s homes burn faster than ever, and fire-related deaths are increasing throughout British Columbia, which means it’s vital to have and practise a home fire-escape plan.”

The current drought and dry conditions don’t only affect our natural environment’s risk of fire, but also our homes. 

Rice said in a media release that there have been more than 1,900 structure fires, resulting in 93 injuries and 32 fatalities in BC this year alone. 

As the focus of this year’s Fire Prevention Week is ‘Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape,’ here are some steps outlined by the province to be sure you can be as prepared as possible:

  • Consider the needs of all your household members, including children, older adults and those with sensory or physical disabilities.
  • Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows open easily.
  • Have an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone should meet.
  • Practise a home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the household, including guests. Practise at least once during the day and once at night.
  • For people living in apartments, review your building’s fire-safety plan, including evacuation maps and procedures, and learn where your building’s emergency exits are. Know the locations of all available exit stairs from your floor in case the nearest one is blocked by fire or smoke.

“In addition, we suggest installing smoke alarms inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of your home. Smoke alarms are also safest when they are interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound,” said Rice in a statement.

The Saanich Fire Department announced that it would be set up in front of the Walmart at Uptown Mall from Tuesday to Thursday, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to offer advice on making your home fire safe. 

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