This summer make fire safety a priority

This archived article is from June 2007. Although every effort has been made to make sure the information presented is accurate, please note that it may contain information that is out-of-date.

With summer vacation around the corner, many Canadians have made their camping, vacation, gardening and renovations plans. However, the majority are not making the necessary plans for fire safety, according to a new study examining fire safety preparedness.

Fewer than one in five Canadians surveyed have given thought to preparing their home fire escape plan or a home fire drill, even though the summer season sparks a high risk of home fires as families spend more time at home or the cottage, and barbecue season gets underway.

A cross-Canada study commissioned by Duracell and the Canada Safety Council, conducted this spring, found that more than a third of Canadians were planning their summer vacations (36 per cent), as well as home projects that include gardening and landscaping (37 per cent). About one in four Canadians (24 per cent) also said home renovations are high on their to-do list for this summer.

But when it comes to fire safety planning inside the home, only 12 per cent of respondents said their summer plans include a home fire drill and 17 per cent had a home fire escape plan in place. One in five Canadians plan for safety when barbecuing, more than any other summer activity, but this is still dangerously low.

“Summer is, for many of us, the best time of year,” says Emile Therien, president of the Canada Safety Council. “Our message is to enjoy summer, and to minimize the risk of fire by taking the necessary precautions. Take some time to review your fire escape plan and practice your home fire drill.”

According to Therien, most fatal home fires start at night and smoke alone won't always wake you up and in fact, the fumes could put you into an even deeper sleep.  Having properly working smoke alarms in the home is critical, because a dead unit is worse than none at all – it can give a false sense of security.  Aside from a working smoke alarm, you need to have a fire escape plan in place for the home and cottage, and to ensure that everyone in the household has practiced it.

A quarter of those surveyed said they developed a fire escape plan in the past year and 12 percent practiced a home fire drill once last year.  In addition, only one in four Canadians changed the batteries in their smoke alarm every six months, with one-third having changed the batteries once.  And, in fact, one in four admitted to having removed the batteries from their smoke alarms to silence the alarm or to use in other devices, such as a TV remote control or toys.

 “Knowing ahead of time what to do in case of a fire emergency can save precious seconds that ultimately can play a role in saving lives,” said Deanne MacDonald, marketing manager for Duracell.  “Having a solid fire escape plan and properly working and tested smoke alarms can spell the difference between success and failure when an emergency unfolds. It takes very little time to make a huge difference in preparedness.”

Now in its fifth year, Duracell’s annual Fire Safety Drive brings interactive fire safety educational events to communities across the country to help Canadians improve their fire safety know-how and better plan their home fire escapes. Events will be held at participating retailers where families can meet local firefighters, tour a fire truck and pick up a complimentary fire safety guide. Find an event near you by visiting www.duracellfiresafety.com. While online, try the fun educational activities on the site.