Preventing, Escaping and Surviving a Home Fire
As temperatures begin to drop across Canada and we spend more time indoors, it’s more important than ever to ensure our homes are prepped and protected from the ravages of fire.
First the good news… Thanks to improved safety technology, more stringent building codes and greater public awareness, the incidence of house fires has dropped dramatically over the past few decades.
The bad news? Modern fabrics used in home furnishings, the rise in open concept layouts and lighter construction materials now allow fires to spread at an astonishingly rapid rate. Forty years ago, a person had about seventeen minutes to flee a residential fire. Today, on average, you and your family have less than three minutes to safely escape a fire in your home.
Today most house fires are caused by a lapse in caution or awareness. The numbers speak volumes: Every year in Canada, firefighters battle about 50,000 fires. Additional statistics show that, on average, fire is the cause of eight deaths every week in Canada, with household fires accounting for 73% of these fatalities. So, preparing and planning are as important as ever.
Monitored smoke detectors save lives
TELUS SmartHome Security monitored smoke detectors not only sound at the first signs of a fire (smoke) but, at the same time, our monitoring centres receive your signal and will alert you. If necessary, your local fire department and required emergency services will also be contacted, so that first responders will be on their way without delay.
Plan your escape
Every home and every family should have a fire escape plan, one that shows two ways out of every room. An effective plan will also include a designated safe meeting place outside the home. Get the whole family involved in creating your personal planner and start practicing your drills!
Stay ahead of fire… close that door!
Since most fires occur at night, the mere act of closing one’s bedroom door can help slow down the spread of smoke. This, coupled with smoke detectors installed outside bedrooms to awaken and alert you and your family if smoke is detected, can help ensure your survival.
Top culprits in home fires, injuries and deaths
When we look at causes, cooking leads in both home fires and home-fire injuries, whereas smoking is the leading cause of home fire fatalities. Appliances, fireplaces, heating, electrical and candles also figure prominently. Following a few simple rules for fire prevention can help keep you and your family safe.
Fire prevention should include:
- Never leave cooking unattended
- No smoking in bedrooms
- Portable heating devices should have at least one metre of space around them
- Never use a frayed electrical cord and ensure all outlets and appliances are in good working order
- Ensure the fire in your fireplace is completely out and embers disposed of before going to bed
- Use only flameless candles
So, what happens if, in spite of your best intentions, a fire breaks out?
Avoid smoke and heat
Crawl low under any smoke to make your way out – heavy smoke and gases collect first along ceilings. Before opening a door, quickly feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, leave the door closed and choose your secondary route out of the room. This might be a window with access onto a neighbour’s roof or a collapsible ladder to climb to the ground.
Stop, drop and roll
Everyone in your family should know the importance of these words! In the event that a person’s clothes catch fire, stopping, dropping and rolling is how to put out the flames. Practice this with all members of your family… make a game of it with children so that, in case of an emergency, it will be second nature.
How safe are you and your family?
Find out how you and your home measure up with regards to fire prevention:
- Smoke alarms are on every level of my home, especially right outside sleeping areas
- My smoke alarms are monitored through a 24/7 monitored service
- There is always a phone near my bed to make or receive calls during an emergency
- I test my smoke alarms each month and change batteries when necessary
- I can hear my smoke alarms from any room in my home
- Exits are clear, not blocked by furniture or other items
- I’ve practiced my fire escape plan with all members of my family – children, the elderly, those with disabilities
- Everyone in my family knows our designated meeting place outside our home
Call 855.958.8181 to talk to one of our security experts about fire prevention and securing your home with TELUS SmartHome Security monitored smoke detectors.
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