Fire Prevention Week marks 100 years of educating Saskatchewan families

Saskatchewan celebrated 100 years of Fire Prevention Week on Wednesday.

This year’s theme was, ‘Fire won’t wait, plan your escape.’

The event was headlined by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, the province’s top fire specialists and students in grades 3 and 4 from Ecole St. Pius elementary school attended.

It began with a tour of a Regina Fire and Protective Services firetruck. Students were toured around the vehicle and shown tools such as the jaws of life and an axe.  Then it was up off to see the inside of the mobile command centre.

It allowed the students to get an inside look at the daily life of local firefighters.

“Firefighters don’t just put out fires they help a lot with other things,” said Bridget Olson, one of the many students.

Students and firefighters were invited into the Legislative Building to hear from the premier along with fire experts about the importance of Fire Prevention Week.

“You should know what to do in your own home,” said Premier Moe. “You should know where to go when you hear one of those alarms go off and you can help your parents plan for an emergency.”

Presenters laid out five tips to help families practice fire prevention.

  1. Plan your escape
  2. Test fire alarms
  3. Choose a meeting place outside
  4. Make a regular reminder
  5. Practice the home fire drill

President of the Saskatchewan Association of Fire Chiefs, Mike Kwasnica, says that most homes furnishing are made from a petroleum base. Making them quite flammable.  He says that families only have around two to three minutes to exit the house.

“Ideally, you want to make sure in the design of your home the bedroom windows are escapable, you have a fire escape plan and that your early warning systems which is your smoke alarms, notify you the minute the fire starts.”

According to Marlo Pritchard, Saskatchewan’s fire commissioner, the most typical fires the province sees are wildfire and structural. Data released from Statistics Canada shows between 2010 and 2014, structural fires were the most common type of fire. Residential fires led the pack in the structural fire category.

Pritchard adds this week isn’t about teaching people about firefighters, but ensuring families are aware of the dangers. “It’s not about the response, it’s about you are looking out for yourself and getting out of that structure. Meeting outside the house, that’s why we are doing this event. ”

Stats Canada also found that in 2014, 87 per cent of fire deaths were caused by structural fires.

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