The Russell Fire Department has a program available to assist families in better protecting themselves from the dangers of a home fire. The Home Fire Safety Assessment program involves a member of the fire department coming to your home to assess your current level of fire preparedness and discuss ways for you to improve fire safety within your home. This is also an excellent way for families to review their fire escape plans and discuss the practicality of it with an actual firefighter. Considering that fines have been issued in the past for smoke alarm violations, we feel it is fair to inform people that no fines will be issued in the case of an infraction during a visit that involves this program. Punishing someone who is trying to improve their fire safety is not our intention nor does it send the proper message to the community.
Upon visiting your home a firefighter will go through a checklist of items that affect your fire safety, the firefighter will also ask some questions about smoke alarm maintenance and your fire escape plan. Upon completion of the checklist a written recommendation will be given to the family as to how they can better their fire safety. The report will be confidential and remain between the family and the fire department. Our main objective is to make families better aware of their own level of fire safety and hopefully to better it.
Our main objective is to prevent fires from happening in the first place, but if one should happen we want to be certain that Russell families are prepared to deal with it by having a plan in place that works and takes all circumstances into consideration. It is commonly accepted that once a smoke alarm sounds in a fire, people have between 60 and 90 seconds to escape the home before the conditions make escape and surviving questionable. We need families to be organized and have a plan in place that allows them to react quickly, the plan has to take all family members into consideration which can be more difficult when you have to allow for older adults or many small children.
We hope that families will take advantage of this program, being prepared can be the difference when it comes to surviving a house fire. If you think this is something you would like to do in your home, please call the fire department at 613-445-3326 and leave a message expressing your interest.
Published in the Villager newspaper April 27, 2011
No part of this article can be reprinted or reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of The Russell Fire Department's Public Education Division.