Residential fires account for many fatalities

  • Oct. 5, 2011 3:22 p.m.

This fall is all about early detection for Canadians.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but did you know that October is also Fire Safety Awareness Month? Both fire and breast cancer are killers. And for both, early detection is key. In a special collaboration, First Alert has teamed up with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to spread this important message.

“Whether it be a middle-of-the-night fire alarm or a routine mammogram, First Alert and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation know that early detection saves lives,” said Jim Rotz, president of First Alert.

According to Fire Prevention Canada, eight Canadians die every week from fires, with residential fires accounting for 73% of these fatalities. Sadly, many of these deaths could have been prevented with proper placement and maintenance of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.

Chief Tim Beckett, president of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs says there are some basic, yet necessary, steps Canadians must take to keep their homes and families safe.

“Smoke alarms are the easiest, most cost-efficient way to alert family members of a developing fire,” said Beckett. With working smoke alarms on each level of the home, families increase the likeliness that a fire will be detected and that the family will be alerted of hazardous smoke and flames.”

It is the law to have working smoke alarms in your home. Beckett also recommends alarms be installed inside or near each bedroom. The number one complaint about smoke alarms is that it can be difficult to change the battery—purchase one that has an easy access battery door so it never has to be removed from the ceiling.

Fire extinguishers are another essential tool to fight small fires before they spread out of control.

Along with placing smoke alarms and fire extinguishers around the house, here are some additional tips for fire safety and prevention:

• Make a fire escape plan for your family. Walk through exit paths and decide on a place to meet outside.

• Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet that children cannot access.

• Always remain in the kitchen while cooking- don’t leave boiling pots or simmering food unattended.

• Keep flammable materials at least three feet away from fires, candles and heaters.

Now, for the first time, Canadians can make their homes safer and contribute to the fight against breast cancer.

First Alert has developed a line of Canadian Breast Cancer Fire Safety products: two smoke alarms, a carbon monoxide alarm and a kitchen fire extinguisher.

For each product sold, First Alert will donate $1 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Look for the pink packaging in retailers across Canada.