Fire Prevention Week focuses on smoke detectors

This year’s theme is ‘Don’t Wait - Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years’


It’s a message that many often hear check your smoke detector monthly and change the batteries in the device annually. However, this year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 9th-15th is ‘Don’t Wait Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years’.

It is a reminder that may perhaps be lesser known, but still just as important.

According to Fire Prevention Canada, hundreds of people die in residential fires in Canada every year.

In many fires that have been extinguished in their early stages, people have been found dead of smoke inhalation without having suffered burns.

“It has been conservatively estimated that many of these lives could have been saved by the installation of properly functioning smoke alarms. Although these devices are no substitute for carefully planned fire prevention measures, they are invaluable to providing an early warning when fire strikes,” officials say.

Smoke is the cause of the majority of fire-related deaths, according to the Fire Prevention Canada site.

Hot flames are actually low on the list of killers during a fire.

“A smouldering fire may go undetected for hours, especially while people are asleep. In addition to deadly carbon monoxide, smoke carries poisons such as hydrogen cyanide and irritants such as formaldehyde and acetic acid. Added to this lethal potion are other toxic substances that come from the burning of synthetic materials commonly found in the home, especially those emitted from plastics and foams. Oxides of nitrogen, sulphur dioxide and ammonia are just a few examples. These agents can have a lethal effect before a sleeper is even disturbed; especially when one considers that the fire itself consumes life-sustaining oxygen.”

Normally, air is made-up of about 21% oxygen. When it falls below the 17% level, thinking and coordination become difficult. Below 16%, a person’s behaviour turns irrational, hindering escape efforts.

Breathing becomes impossible when oxygen levels fall below 6%.

Super-heated air and gases rise quickly and produce what is known as a ‘hot’ fire.

Temperatures above 370C are common in a ‘hot’ fire. At such high temperatures, unconsciousness and death can occur within minutes. Bedrooms located in the upper floors of residences are frequently subjected to these conditions in the advanced stages of a fire.

There are of course other aspects to fire safety, including proper use of lighters and matches.

Also according to Fire Prevention Canada, every year hundreds of fires are started by children playing with lighters or matches.

Many of these fires are caused by children under the age of five. Children as young as 18 months have caused fires by operating lighters. Disposable lighters sold by retailers must be child-resistant, but remember, child-resistant does not mean childproof. Store lighters out of sight and out of the reach of children and do not remove the child safety devices from the lighter. Remember to teach children that lighters and matches are not toys.

Meanwhile, City officials say that Fire Prevention Week is an important yearly reminder, however, they work hard each month to get fire safety messages across to the community.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week, visit


Just Posted

Rebels, Hurricanes kick off their WHL playoff series

Game 1 starts the series Friday night in Lethbridge

Town of Blackfalds announces annual census

Census helps determine population and eligibility for Provincial grants.

Black and Gold Moth Ball coming this weekend

Fundraiser supports the Lacombe Generals trip to the 2018 Allan Cup

The Lending Cupboard lands new location on north end

New location - 7803 - 50th Ave. to be fully operational by August

Rotary Club donates $6,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters

Donation is equal to half of 2018 mortgage costs for charity

WATCH: AFSC unveils new CEO

Steve Blakely comes to AFSC after a 40 year career in the finance sector

Alberta’s budget sets path to balance

The Alberta Government announced the 2018 budget on March 22

McMaster out, Bolton in as Trump’s national security adviser

President Donald is replacing National security adviser H.R. McMaster with John Bolton

Two killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking

French counterterrorism prosecutors are taking charge of the investigation into the shooting of a police officer in southern France

Three-car pile-up on Northstar Drive and 58th Street

No injuries reported at Thursday afternoon incident

Canadian women move to No. 4 in FIFA world rankings

Canadian women match all-time high, move back to No. 4 in FIFA world rankings

Supreme Court rules former Stephen Harper aide guilty of influence peddling

A one-time senior aide to former prime minister Stephen Harper has been found guilty of influence peddling by Canada’s highest court.

Annual inflation rate rises to 2.2% for its fastest pace since fall 2014

Statistics Canada says the consumer price index in February was up 2.2 per cent compared with a year ago

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Most Read