A home fire can start much more easily than most people think. In fact, firefighters battle more than 50,000 residential fires in Canada every year. Yet a recent suvey shows most Canadians may not be prepared if a fire were to strike their home. In spring 2006, Duracell and the Canada Safety Council commissioned a cross-Canada survey on fire safety. It found that 70 per cent of respondents had not held a home fire drill in the past year- down eight per cent from 2005. In fact, an alarming 69 per cent did not have a home fire escape plan in place. Key factors in home fires Smokers materials are leading cause of fire-related fatalities and loss in Canada. New standards for self-extinguishing cigarettes, which came into effect in October 2005, will help reduce fires due to careless smoking. The most dangerous room for fire is the kitchen, and grease fires are very often the culprit. Over the past few years, candles have led to more and more home fires. Outside the holiday season, candle fires most often start in the bedroom. Fires caused by cooking and candles can be prevented by never, ever leaving cooking or buring candles unattended. Most fatal fires start at night. Smoke alone won't necessarily wake you up- in fact, the fumes could put you
into an even deeper sleep. That is why you need a smoke alarm on every floor, near the kitchen and outside all sleeping areas. Test each unit regularly, and replace the batteries regularly. A good way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. Plan and practice your escape In addition to properly working smoke alarms, the best defence against a fire is a well-rehearsed, escape plan. Knowing exactly what to do can save precious seconds in the event of a real emergency. The Canada Safety Council recommends these steps to prepare for a family fire drill: · Draw a floor plan of your house · Mark two ways out of each room · Establish a meeting place outside the house · Be sure each family member has the plan and knows the escape route · Post your fire escape plan on the fridge or family bulletin board. Hold a fire drill for your family once or twice a year. Vary the drills, to practise escaping from different fire sources. For more tips and to view a short online video about home fire safety, visit www.duracellfiresafety.com.