Fire extinguishers are a key part of the fire prevention process (Photo courtesy PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay)

Fire extinguishers are a key part of the fire prevention process (Photo courtesy PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay)

A century of prevention

100 years ago, the first fire prevention week was held, in 1922. Many things have changed since then, but the basic message remains the same: be prepared.

For Vanderhoof fire chief Ian Leslie, the annual event is about raising awareness, this year focused on preparing an escape plan.

“You need to be prepared because houses burn a lot faster with the type of material and the contents that we have now than they used to,” said Leslie. “So you need to have a plan to get out as soon as you can.”

He adds to regularly test your smoke detectors and their batteries. Building code changes now state there should be a fire extinguisher outside of every sleeping area.

Having a plan to get yourself and your family out in case of a fire is at the top of Leslie’s priority list, along with appropriate smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, but there is something even more basic on the list: knowing your address.

When you phone 911, he points out, they’re going to ask for your address.

“Anything you can do to be prepared ahead of time speeds up the response,” he said explaining that if you have to fumble for your address, it’s going to slow down dispatch if they have to figure out where you are.

“With everything going through 911 Dispatch, you know, addresses are very important,” he said.

Besides a friendly stay safe out there, Leslie points out that most home fires start in the kitchen, so take special care to use safety measures in the kitchen, along with your other preparations.

The Vanderhoof Fire Hall is holding an open house on Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.