Fire prevention in Revelstoke: ‘Look. Listen. Learn.’ What does it mean?

Volunteer fire fighters working on their NFPA 1001 certification train with a portable fire extinguisher. (Facebook)

Home fires today can burn faster than ever.

Occupants may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Knowing how to use that time wisely takes planning and practice.

The Revelstoke Fire Department teamed up with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years – to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign: Look. Listen. Learn.

Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere. The campaign works to educate the public about basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire.

Data from Statistics Canada show that the number of structure fires declined by 26 per cent between 2005 and 2014. However, in 2017 in Revelstoke the fire department responded to 16 residential fires, up from 10 the previous year and four in 2015. The department also handled two commercial structure fires in 2017, down from five in 2016 and nine in 2015.

Across Canada residential fires consistently accounted for roughly six of every 10 structural fires during that period. According to StatsCan, cooking equipment and smokers’ material caused approximately six of every 10 residential fires.

“These numbers show that while we’ve made significant progress in teaching people how to prevent fires from happening, there’s still much more work to do in terms of educating the public about how to protect themselves in the event of one,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “This is particularly critical given the increased speed at which today’s home fires grow and spread.”

Carli notes that home is the place people are at greatest risk for fire, but home is the place people feel safest. That over-confidence contributes to complacency toward home-escape planning and practice.

The Department says this year’s “Look. Listen. Learn.” campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:

Look for places fire could start.

Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm

Learn two ways out of every room.

While NFPA and the Revelstoke Fire Department are focusing on home fires, these messages apply to virtually any location.

Revelstoke’s fire fighters are called out to motor vehicle incidents more than anything else–118 in 2017.

They also respond to ringing alarms, brush/grass fires, burn complaints, carbon monoxide alarms, gas leaks, HAZMAT incidents, hydro pole fires, lift assists, medical emergencies, vehicle fires, wires down as well as structure fires.

Medical calls are their second highest incidents at 100 in 2017, followed by 60 burn complaints, 35 commercial alarms ringing and 31 reports of wires down.

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Kids learn fire safety and have some fun at the firehall during Fire Prevention Week last week. Facebook

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