Small, life-sav­ing de­vices

The Glengarry News - Glengarry Supplement - - News -

BY AN­GELA BROWN

News Staff Fire preven­tion starts with home­own­ers and ten­ants be­ing proac­tive, to en­sure their liv­ing space is safe from risk of fire.

In keep­ing with this year’s theme for Fire Preven­tion Week, Hear the Beep Where You Sleep, North Glen­garry Fire Chief Stephen Stewart said a good way for res­i­dents to stay safe is to in­stall smoke alarms through­out their homes, in­clud­ing in their bed­rooms.

“Over the years we have re­sponded to lots of calls dur­ing the night-time hours,” said Mr. Stewart. “Thank­fully, most of the time the peo­ple do get out.”

He said home­own­ers need to look for ways to en­sure their fam­i­lies can exit a build­ing as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Alexandria fire sta­tion deputy chief Bernard Lalonde pointed out peo­ple should en­sure smoke de­tec­tors are work­ing and the de­vices’ bat­ter­ies are fresh.

The fire depart­ment rec­om­mends peo­ple have a smoke de­tec­tor in their bed­rooms be­cause some peo­ple sleep with their bed­room doors closed, and may not hear an alarm some­where else in their dwelling.

“It will pick up the sig­nal a lot of times be­fore our nose would,” said Mr. Lalonde.

Home­own­ers should also have car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tors that are in good work­ing or­der. A car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tor is the best way to de­tect the poi­sonous and odour­less gas.

He also sug­gests that peo­ple have an evac­u­a­tion plan. The test can be easily sum­ma­rized, he ob­served. “Beep, beep, beep. You have 30 sec­onds to get to the door. Can you make it?”

Cig­a­rette use is a killer, in many re­spects. Care­less smok­ing re­mains the num­ber one cause of fires.

Cook­ing-re­lated fires are on the rise, es­pe­cially in­volv­ing teenagers who are home alone.

“That’s what I have been asked to im­ple­ment in our schools -- safer cook­ing for teens, to know the lim­its of what you can do,” Mr. Lalonde re­lated.

He ad­vises teens not to start cook­ing with grease be­fore their par­ents ar­rive home be­cause “it’s a time bomb” that of­ten leads to blazes.

Mr. Lalonde adds unat­tended tea-lights are haz­ardous. Now that bat­tery op­er­ated tea-lights are avail­able peo­ple should choose the safer al­ter­na­tive rather than us­ing a can­dle­light with an open flame.

Mr. Stewart said peo­ple ought to en­sure they don’t have ex­cess de­bris in their homes or near their res­i­dences, since if the de­bris catches fire, the fire could spread to the house.

Res­i­dents should keep their door­ways free of clut­ter, too, to en­able fire­fight­ers ac­cess to en­ter a build­ing if a fire starts.

“Most fires these days are caused by care­less­ness,” Mr. Stewart adds. “A lot of them are sim­ply pre­ventable.”

Mr. Stewart said oily rags sit­ting in a pail can easily spon­ta­neously com­bust and can be­come a fire haz­ard.

Over the 28 years he has been with the fire

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