Since the 1980s, I have responded to many house fires. One fire that I recall was a spectacular one, which involved an older apartment complex.
A young family was temporarily renting an apartment in the complex until they could acquire their new home.
In the early-morning hours, my fire pager alarmed, announcing to respond to an apartment fire.
As I arrived on scene, fire and smoke poured out of the building. It took a little time to confirm whether everyone was out of the burning apartment complex.
In the end, everyone did escape.
The young family was very fortunate to be alerted of the fire by a working smoke alarm, which the father had installed outside of their apartment in the common hallway area.
The family just made it out as the apartment next to them was on fire.
I recall talking to the father afterwards, and his sincere happiness that he took the time to protect his loved ones by installing working smoke alarms.
He couldn’t believe how fast the smoke and fire consumed the building.
As he stated, he had working smoke alarms in their previous house. Basically, his children came home one day and told him that the firefighters had visited their school.
The main messages the firefighters delivered to the children were to have working smoke alarms and to practice their home fire escape plan.
If the father had not taken the time to purchase and install the working smoke alarms, the outcome of the fire could have been a lot worse.
We, as Canadians, need to take responsibility for our health and safety now, and take care of what we have!
Safety—it starts with you!
Tyler J. Moffitt is a volunteer firefighter and emergency responder, as well as a continuous improvement advocate.