Dozens of community members dropped by Langford Fire Rescue’s annual open house, which takes place during fire prevention week every year. (Jessica Williamson/Black Press Media)

Fire prevention week focuses on having an escape plan

Homes burn faster now than they did a decade ago, Langford fire chief says

Did you know in the event of a typical house fire, you could only have about one to two minutes to escape from the time the smoke alarm sounds?

Fire Prevention Week takes place from Oct. 6 to 12 and this year, the National Fire Protection Association is placing emphasis on having a good, practised escape plan.

Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey said it’s important to note the difference between a house fire 10 to 15 years ago compared to a modern house fire. Today, furniture is made out of different materials that can burn quickly.

READ ALSO: Fire prevention week returns to Saanich

“A fire would be going so much faster now,” Aubrey said. “You’d have about 12 minutes to leave 15 years ago and now you have three to four minutes.”

By the time the smoke alarm goes off, Aubrey said the clock is already ticking.

Fire Prevention Week takes place every year during the week of Oct. 9 in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire which began on Oct. 8, 1871, and caused major damage to the city.

The fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres of land, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

READ ALSO: Ask a Saanich Firefighter: Escape plans, fireworks and more

The Association noted home escape planning and practice helps make sure that everyone knows what to do in a fire and can escape quickly and safely.

Some suggested essentials for making a plan are mapping out the layout of the home, marking two exits from every room and a path from each exit to the outside; marking the location of all smoke alarms in the home with one on every level, in each bedroom and near all sleeping areas; picking a meeting place and making sure everyone knows how to call 911 or the local emergency number from a cell phone or a neighbour’s phone.


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