Trying to further reduce the number of house fires is the main priority of National Fire Prevention Week and Lethbridge firefighters are hoping to offer some helpful tips to people in the city over the next few days.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to prevent 100 per cent of fires because accidents do happen,” said Troy Hicks, a fire prevention officer in Lethbridge. “However, the numbers do go down every year.”
National Fire Prevention Week is taking place in Lethbridge from Oct. 7 to Oct. 13 and this year’s theme is look, listen, learn and be aware.
“What we’re really asking is for people to remember to look for any hazards that are in your home, which can be anything from fuels or paint cans to storage,” Hicks said.
Fire prevention officers in the city also say knowing how to properly dispose of smoking materials is another important factor for reducing the number of fires in Lethbridge.
“2017 was the year of major fires caused by smoking materials,” Hicks warned.
“With the fire in the gardens at the west side and the Winston Villa apartment here on the north side, we had more than $7 million worth of damage in the city here last year caused from improper disposal of smoking materials.”
This year’s campaign also hopes to educate the public on the necessity of having functioning smoke alarms on every floor of a house as well as the importance of finding exit routes should a fire start.
“Statistics have shown that just educating and starting them young and getting the message out there with lots of notices, just helps prevent fires,” Hicks said.
But those aren’t the only tips that officers are hoping to convey to the public. Hicks also stressed the importance of checking appliance maintenance often as the cold weather spurs a need for dusting off household heaters and staying warm.
“Moving into the winter season, especially with heating, electric blankets, furnaces, electric fireplaces, wood fireplaces [and] gas fireplaces, it’s just a matter of making sure everything is regularly inspected.”
Hicks also warned that many household fires are started while someone is cooking and that those blazes can also be easily prevented.
“We see 17 to 18 related grease fires each month here, and they’re all preventable,” Hicks said. “Just cook carefully, don’t use too much grease and don’t leave the house while food is cooking.”
Fire officials said they hope citizens incorporate safe practices into their everyday lives, even when Fire Prevention Week comes to a close.
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