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PEC Fire Chief urges checks on smoke alarms and escape plans following fatal fire

In the wake of a fatal fire in Brampton Tuesday that killed a mother, father and daughter, the Prince Edward County Fire Department has issued a reminder to the public to be sure of working smoke alarms and  a fire escape plan in place.

“Many fatal fires occur at night when everyone is asleep, so early warning is crucial to survival,” said Fire Chief Scott Manlow.

Manlow said it has not yet been determined if there were working smoke alarms at the Brampton home. News reports indicate a man living in a basement apartment heard screams from the people on the upper level. He was able to rescue one young girl.

The fire started in the living room. Its cause is unknown. Reports noted damage from the fire was not extensive, but the quickly spreading smoke is often what kills.

The Ontario Fire Code requires working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas.

“For added protection, our fire department is recommending that you also install a smoke alarm in every bedroom,” said Manlow. “Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms.”

Tuesday’s was the latest in a string of deadly house fires in Ontario over the last few months.

Four family members were killed in Port Colborne in mid December and just 12 hours later four children and a father were killed at a home on the Oneida Nation of the Thames. On Christmas Eve, and mother, father and two sons died in a fire at their cottage near Peterborough. Two others died in a fire near Chatham Kent in late January.

“Just as important as having working smoke alarms is making sure everyone in your home knows exactly what to do to escape before a fire occurs,” said Manlow. “We want to make sure these types of tragedies do not happen in Prince Edward County.”

Simple smoke and carbon monoxide alarm tips:
– Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of your home. For added
protection, install a smoke alarm in every bedroom according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
– Install carbon monoxide alarms outside all sleeping areas if your home has a fuel-burning
appliance, fireplace or attached garage. For added protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on
every story of your home according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
– Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pressing the test button.
– Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms wear out over time. Replace alarms according to
manufacturer’s recommendations.

Simple steps for home fire escape planning include:
– Everyone should know two ways out of each room, if possible.
– All exits must be unobstructed and easy to use.
– If someone in your home has a disability, develop an escape plan with your household that takes
into account their unique needs. Determine who will be responsible for helping young children,
older adults and anyone who needs assistance to escape.
– Choose a meeting place outside, such as a tree or a lamp post, where everyone can be
accounted for.
– Call the fire department from outside the home, from a cell phone or neighbour’s home.
– Practice your home fire escape plan.
– Once out, stay out. Never re-enter a burning building.

For people who live in apartment buildings and need assistance to escape:
– Make sure you tell the superintendent or landlord if you need assistance.
– Make sure your name is added to the persons who require assistance list in the fire safety plan,
so the fire department knows which apartment you are in.
– Know the emergency procedures outlined in the building’s fire safety plan.

For more information, or to ask questions, contact the Prince Edward Fire and Rescue Service at 613-476-2345, or by email at fire@pecounty.on.ca

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