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Posted: October 7, 2018

Emergency preparedness starts at home

Letter to the Editor

For the second year in a row, British Columbians experienced a record-breaking wildfire season. These disasters damaged homes and infrastructure, challenged communities, displaced thousands of people and have put fire safety front and centre for families around our province. The annual Fire Prevention Week serves as a reminder to all British Columbians to learn about the dangers of fire, how to prevent it and how to keep your family safe by having and practicing an escape plan.

This year’s theme is: ‘Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere.’ The goal is to raise awareness about three simple steps that can help people reduce their risk and be better prepared in the event of a fire:

  • Look for places fire can start. Take a good look around your home to identify potential fire hazards and remove them.
  • Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to safely escape once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet.
  • Learn two ways out of each room, and make sure all doors and windows leading outside can open easily and are free of clutter.

Emergency preparedness starts at home. Talk about your emergency plan with everyone in your home. Make sure your home has working smoke alarms on each floor. Know the emergency number for your fire department and make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle. Lastly and most importantly, practice your home fire drill regularly.

Fire escape plans are not only important at home but also at schools, child care centres and places of employment. Fire safety planning will help ensure your family, friends and community members have the information, skills and tools they need to react safely in the event of a fire.

Fire Prevention Week is about raising public awareness on the dangers of fire and how to be better prepared. We all have a role to play in emergency preparedness. I encourage all British Columbians to do their part and plan ahead!”

Jennifer Rice,

B.C. Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness

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