Winnipeggers invited to mark fire prevention week

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) is inviting people to mark fire prevention week from Sunday until Oct 15. Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) is inviting people to mark fire prevention week from Sunday until Oct 15.

This year’s theme is “fire won’t wait, plan your escape” WFPS is encouraging people to create and practice home escape safety plans with their households.

In a fire or carbon monoxide emergency, ensuring people can safely and quickly evacuate is critical for life safety.

“Don’t wait until an alarm sounds in your home to think about how you and your family will get out,” said Christian Schmidt, fire & paramedic chief.

“Creating a home escape plan now and practicing it with your family can ensure everyone is safe in the event of an emergency,”

Having a smoke alarm is the best way to ensure safety and a quick escape in the event of a fire.

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Homeowners without a working smoke alarm may be eligible to have one installed for free through the SAFE Family program.

WFPS has teamed up with Canadian Tire to promote the importance of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and other fire and life safety equipment by hosting booths inside a number of stores throughout the city.

People can talk with WFPS about these devices, how to test them and where to install them at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, October 11 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: 750 St. James St.
  • Thursday, October 13 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: 157 Vermillion Rd.
  • Friday, October 14 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: 1519 Regent Ave. W

WFPS responded to four fires on Friday and two more on Saturday, one of which was due to a chimney.

With the colder weather approaching, WFPS wants to remind people to stay safe when using indoor and outdoor fireplaces.

Residents can practice such measures as:

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  • Placing flammable items and furniture at least three feet away
  • Never leave a fireplace burning unattended
  • Install all safety alarms
  • Check to see if your fireplace requires a permit from the city
  • Ensure all fresh air intake vents are clear
  • Always keep the damper fully open when lighting a fire

Fire prevention is moving in the right direction in the city, according to community advocate Sel Burrows.

“They’ve been going door to door in the inner city with fire prevention information. They’ve got a lot more houses to go to,” he said.

However, while the preventative measure is being taken Burrows says his biggest concern is around vacant properties.

“The issue around fires and the vacant houses, you know, is life-threatening because there are people squatting in them. And that is still a very serious issue.”

WFPS responded to a total of 144 fires in January 2021 — 45 were considered accidental, 29 were considered suspicious, and 70 were categorized as undetermined causes.

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