Manitoba

What every family must know to stay safe from fire

Winnipeg firefighter Marc Proulx says the majority of fires happen at home, and too few families are prepared.

Winnipeg firefighter says too few families know what to do if there's a fire

What every family must know to stay safe from fire

CBC News: Winnipeg at 6:00

6 years ago
1:35
And as the rural community of Kane grieves the loss of four children killed in a house fire this week, many Manitobans are considering what they can do to protect their families from a similar tragedy. 1:35

Is your family prepared in the event of a fire?

Marc Proulx, the public education co-ordinator for the Winnipeg Fire Department, says many of us practise fire drills at school and work, but too few families are prepared at home.

"We find it important enough that we mandate it in schools, yet where most fires start is in the home," said Proulx.

"People don't realize once a fire takes hold and it gets into a free burning stage, you literally have seconds to get out. It's amazing how fast it grows and how fast it spreads."

And as the rural community of Kane grieves the loss of four children killed in a house fire this week, many Manitobans are considering what they can do to protect their families from a similar tragedy.

When the fire in Kane started around 12 a.m. Wednesday morning, Doralee Eberhardt and her seven children were asleep in their home.

The 34-year-old mother managed to get her three youngest kids out safely, but her sons Timmy, Danny, Henry and Bobby never made it out of their second-floor bedrooms.

According to Proulx, there are two important things every family needs to do in order to be fire-safe: having working smoke alarms and an escape plan.

Fire and safety consultant Roger Regnier added that it isn't enough to just have an escape plan — families should know it inside out.

"It's very important that it be practised, because smaller children, they don't necessarily take verbal direction," said Regnier. "But as far as showing them how to do it, it's very important.

"The thing is if you don't practice it when it comes down to the moment, that's when people go, 'oh I cant' remember what I'm supposed to do.'"

Have working smoke alarms

  • The minimum standard is one in every sleeping area, but Proulx recommends also having at least one on every floor of your house.
  • Make sure they work. Even the best smoke alarm is worthless if it is out of batteries. Proulx says smoke alarms should be tested every 30 days — as per manufacturer guidelines — and when you return home from vacation.

Have an escape plan

  • Know two ways out of every room in your house, especially bedrooms. Folding ladders are available for second-storey windows.

  • Have a place to meet a safe distance from your home. Knowing everyone is out safely will help firefighters focus on fighting the fire.

  • Young kids will naturally think, "Mom or Dad will come for me." It is vital that they understand how to get out on their own.

  • Practise your fire-safety plan. Knowing the plan in your head is no guarantee in an emergency.


Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now