Fire deaths in Ontario are on the rise. There have already been 21 fire deaths in Ontario this year. This is more than double the number from January 2020. Thankfully, we have not experienced a fire death or fire injury in Port Hope this year, although we do have a family in our community that has lost their home to a fire.

Port Hope Fire Chief Daniel Smith would like to remind residents to do a New Year fire safety review. 

“Fires can happen anywhere at anytime and can spread so quickly that you may have less than 60 seconds to escape,” says Fire Chief Smith. “That means you need to be alerted to the fire as soon as possible and know how to react quickly.”

Working smoke alarms

To give you and your family the best chance to survive a fire, install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Also consider installing smoke alarms in each bedroom. You cannot tell by looking at a smoke alarm if it will work – it needs to be tested! Test your alarms every month. Working smoke alarms will give you and your family the early warning needed to escape a fire.

Home escape plans

Make sure you have a home fire escape plan that includes two ways out and one family meeting place. Someone should be responsible to help young kids, older adults, and people with disabilities. Practice the plan to make sure it works.

House fire common causes

One of the most common causes of house fires is unattended cooking. It is very easy to be distracted by our cellphones, by the kids, or by the doorbell. Never leave a cooking pot unattended on the stove.

Smoking is another leading cause of home fires. Smokers should be encouraged to smoke outside the home. Make sure cigarettes are extinguished in large deep ashtrays – not in plant pots which may contain peat moss or shredded bark, which can easily ignite.

In the event of a fire…

If a fire does break out in your home, focus on escape. Do not try to fight the fire yourself. Get everyone out of the house and call 911.

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