Fire Prevention week runs Oct. 7th to 13th and the Lacombe Fire Department is hoping to spread the message that fire prevention is a year-round exercise that can save lives.
This year, the main North American theme for Fire Prevention week is “Look, Listen and Learn”.
Look stands for looking for places in your home that are potential fire hazards; listen stands for listening and knowing the sound of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms; and learn stands for learning two ways out of every room in your home.
Eric Graham, deputy chief of training at the Lacombe Fire Department, said Fire Prevention week is a North American tradition that started in 1871 after the Great Chicago fire in the United States.
“It was recognized in the States as nationally observed week and it has carried on from then. Years and years of history involved with it,” he said.
The theme each year has differed but many of the messages have remained the same. The week is also an opportunity for community fire departments to instill knowledge that is helpful year-round.
“I played a large role in fire prevention when I had moved from BC and I think people are getting the message,” Graham said. “I don’t know if one week a year is enough to educate people on fire competency, but at least it is a start.
“As the fire department, we have lots of opportunities to provide this message throughout the year. If we respond to a call, we always use the opportunity to provide education.”
Fire Prevention is obviously important, but the onus has to be on everyone to ensure safety.
“The week is a good foundation of knowledge for people, but their is responsibility for people who have homes and families to not forget about those safety things in the home,” Graham said. “Most fires are preventable in some way. It can be through prior knowledge on handling what you are doing safely — that is the big thing. The fact of the matter is lots of people don’t know.”
For those interested, Graham suggested firepreventionweek.org as an excellent resource.
“It is a US website but it spans border and all the information is super relevant. There is also a bunch of fire safety tips and messages on that site,” Graham said. “If anyone has any questions about fire safety, they can always approach us at the Fire Hall.”
The Lacombe Fire Department is also currently looking for volunteer firefighters.
“We are recruiting for volunteers right now, which will end on Oct. 31st this year and we will be starting next year’s recruitment in early January,” Graham said, adding the requirements include being over 18, being in decent physical condition and submitting a criminal record check and drivers abstract
“The large piece you have to think about is the commitment required. It is a little bit of pay for a lot of time committed,” Graham said.