Guelph, On, April 11 – To prevent a tragic fire from happening in our community, such as the one that recently claimed the lives of four people in East Gwillimbury, Guelph Fire Chief Shawn Armstrong is urging residents to have working smoke alarms in their homes.
“Every home is required by law to have working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas,” says Armstrong. “Only working smoke alarms can give you the early warning you need to safely escape a fire.”
Smoke alarms can be hard-wired or battery-operated, depending on when the house was built. “If you do not have a smoke alarm on every storey of your home, it is vital you have them installed as soon as possible.”
Residents should test their smoke alarms monthly. If the alarm fails to sound, and it is hard-wired, the alarm should be looked at right away. If it is a battery-operated smoke alarm, make sure the battery is installed correctly or install a new battery. If the alarm still fails to sound, replace the smoke alarm with a new one. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
The Guelph Fire Department also recommends having a fire escape plan.
“Just as important as having working smoke alarms is making sure everyone in your home knows how to escape in the event a fire occurs,” Armstrong adds.
Simple tips for planning your family’s escape
- Determine who will be responsible for helping young children, older adults or anyone who may require additional assistance to escape.
- Draw a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.
- Choose a designated meeting place that is a safe distance from your home. This is where everyone can meet once they have escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.
- Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.
- Have an adult sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home.
- Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.
If you live in an apartment building
- Inform the superintendent or landlord if you require assistance.
- Make sure your name is added to the persons who require assistance list in the building’s fire safety plan so the fire department knows which apartment you live in.
- Know the emergency procedures outlined in the building’s fire safety plan.
Visit guelph.ca/fire for more fire safety information.
For more information
Chief Fire Prevention Officer
Guelph Fire Department
T 519-822-1260 x 2133