Manitobans are reminded of the importance of developing and practising a family fire escape plan that ensures they have two ways to leave their home, Family Services and Labour Minister Jennifer Howard, minister responsible for the Office of the Fire Commissioner, said today.
“Fire safety is a lifelong habit we’d like to see begin at home,” said Howard. “Manitoba fire department statistics show that in 2010, 94 per cent of fire fatalities and 78 per cent of fire injuries occurred in the home, and we encourage people to take a few minutes to protect themselves and their families.”
The Office of the Fire Commissioner and fire departments across the country work all year to remind people to make safety a part of their daily routines. This year in Manitoba, at least half a dozen serious fires have been started by the careless disposal of cigarettes. These easily avoided fires have caused more than $3 million in damage. Before throwing out cigarette butts or ashes, make sure they are out. Put them in sand or water, not potted plants or anything else that could catch fire, the minister said.
Howard urged Manitobans to do their part at home by:
having a family fire escape plan and practising it,
making sure there is a smoke alarm on every floor of the home,
checking the batteries in alarms, and
remembering that alarms need to be replaced at least every 10 years.
Some helpful tips for making a family home escape plan include:
making a map of the home and marking a door and window that can be used to get out of each room,
choosing a meeting place a safe distance away from the house; and
when everyone is home, sounding the smoke alarm and practising the escape plan.
Schools around the province will be sending home a fire prevention activity book designed around the theme of plan ‘2 Ways Out.’ Howard asked Manitobans to take a moment to review the booklet and make a family fire escape plan, which could save their lives.
The minister also cautioned people to make sure it’s safe before starting a fire and obey all burning bans that might be in effect. This reminder comes on the heels of another weekend of wildfires that burned across southern Manitoba.
“Once again, local fire departments, with the support of the Office of the Fire Commissioner and Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, worked tirelessly to ensure the fires did not get out of control,” said Howard. “The best way to do that is to prevent wildfires from starting is by practising safe behaviour like monitoring alerts for outdoor burning and using caution when taking vehicles off road.”