WATCH: The difference between life and death in a fire can be seconds. That’s why each year fire officials stress the importance of fire education during fire prevention week. Luisa Alvarez explains the meaning behind this years theme of look, listen and learn.
Fire Prevention Week happens each year during the week of Oct. 9 in honor of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. That fire ended up killing more than 250 people. It left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.
Fire officials say the devastation caused by that fire serves as a reminder to everyone about how important it is to educate everyone in a community about fire prevention.
This year’s theme for fire prevention week is “Look, listen, learn.”
“We are always concerned about life lost you know property is very important as well but we want to make sure people are safe and react appropriately and responsibly when confronted with fire,” said Assistant Fire Chief with the Esquimalt Fire Department Ray Saurette.
“Look, listen and learn, be aware fire can happen anywhere” is this years theme for fire prevention week until the 13th.
Look — for places fires could start.
Go around your home and identify potential fire hazards and take care of them. Practice good cooking practices to prevent kitchen fires and make sure combustible material is always kept away from heat sources, and electrical outlets aren’t overloaded.
Listen — for the sound of the smoke alarm.
Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and in each bedroom. If you hear a smoke alarm remember to get out and stay out.
“It’s important that they are functioning because they are your first method of getting alerted if something is happening in your home… check them once a month to make sure they’re operational,” said Saurette.
Smoke alarms should be checked monthly and if they are older than ten years they need to be replaced.
Learn — two ways out of every room.
Practice a fire escape plan with your family and ensure windows and doors are free from clutter and make sure everyone in your family knows your outdoor meeting place.
Saurette says having a fire extinguisher in your home is useful for small fires but it’s important to be properly trained on how to use one by your local fire department.
Go online to firepreventionweek.org for more information and learning tools.