This week is the annual Fire Prevention Week.

Running from October 5 to October 11, Fire Prevention Week is promoting the 2014 theme of “Smoke Alarms Save Lives. Test Yours Every Month!” Many of the week’s activities and events will be themed around smoke alarms and encouraging their maintenance.

firesafety2_cody

Fire Prevention Week runs Oct. 5 to Oct. 11. Photo by Cody Hoffman

According to Julie Drong, Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)and Fire Prevention Officer, Fire Prevention Week is the “official” fire safety education week throughout North America and abroad.

“Fire Prevention Week is promoted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),” said Drong. The NFPA, an international non-profit, was established in 1896 to help design initiatives to educate the public about reducing fire hazards, and to advocate for standards and codes in fire prevention.

“During fire prevention week this year, the Brantford fire department has many activities planned to promote fire safety in the community and the importance of working smoke alarms.” said Drong.

According to the Brantford Fire Prevention Week website, a working smoke alarm can increase chances of surviving a fire by 50 per cent. Ontario laws require that there be a smoke alarm on every story of a living space, and outside of all sleeping areas.

Fire Prevention Week exists in memory of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

The fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed tens of thousands of structures, as it burned across more than 2,000 acres. Causing a significant majority of its damage on October 9, 1871, Fire Prevention Week takes place annually on the week in which October 9th falls.

According to the Ontario Fire Marshal, in 35 percent of preventable fires in which there was a fatality, there was no working smoke alarm, and in fatal fires in which the smoke alarm did not operate, 21 percent were beyond the smoke or fire’s reach.

“In a fire, seconds count,” said Philip Teskey, fire safety officer in Laurier’s Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management (SHERM) department.