Volunteers encourage students to look, listen and learn about fire safety

Members of the Gore Bay Fire Department showed students the equipment they use to fight fires as part of the department’s fire safety program.

GORE BAY—The Gore Bay Volunteer Fire Department is urging area residents to keep in mind to look, listen and learn about fire safety as fire can happen anywhere.

Members of the Gore Bay Volunteer Fire Department, including fire chief Mike Addison and firefighters Jack Clark, Dave Hillyard and John Baker brought this message home to all students at Charles C. McLean and youngsters of the Gore Bay Child Care this past Tuesday.

“The whole key is about talking to the kids,” said Mr. Addison. “They are the best people to get the message out to because what they hear from us they will go home and tell their parents. For instance, that they need to change the batteries in the smoke alarms in their home.”

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme focuses on three fundamental actions people can take to be fire-safe. Look for places fire can start, listen for the sound of the smoke alarm and learn two ways out of each room and practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in your home before a fire starts so you and your family can get out quickly.

“Everyone has a responsibility to protect their family and home from fire. Prevention is always the best course of action,” said Mr. Addison. “Identify potential fire hazards in your home and take action to make sure fire doesn’t start.”

“Only working smoke alarms give you the early notification of fire and the time you and your family need to safely escape,” he said. “Many fatal fires occur at night when everyone is asleep, so early warning is crucial to survival. Fire and smoke move faster than you. There’s no time to figure out how to escape your home after a fire starts. Practice a home fire escape plan before there’s a fire so you can get out safely.”

The message provided by the local fire fighters is especially important when you consider that the latest statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that if you have a reported fire in your home, you are more likely to die today than you were a few decades ago.

“People take safety for granted and are not aware of the risk of fire,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Paying attention to your surroundings, looking for available exits in the event of a fire or other emergency, and taking the smoke alarm seriously if it sounds can make a potentially life-saving difference in a fire or other emergency situation.”

The majority of fire deaths (four out of five) occur at home each year. In fact, the fire death rate (per 1,000 home fires reported to the fire department) was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.

“While we’ve made significant progress in preventing home fires from happening, these statistics show that there’s still much more work to do when it comes to teaching people how to protect themselves in the event of one, and why advance planning is so critically important,” said Ms. Carli.