House Fires Are a Growing Concern in Winter Months

As winter comes upon us the ever growing concern of house fires is apparent in many homes.

The 2011-2012 Alberta Fire Commissioner’s Statistical Report said cooking, arson/set fire and smoking are the top three causes of home fires leading to death or injury.

The report said for Alberta, “The highest number of fire deaths per month in 2011 and 2012 occurred in December (6) and October (4) respectively.”

“We have had four fire fatalities this year, and all have been women. Two were determined to be caused by improperly disposed smoking materials, the most recent was a cooking fire and one was undetermined,” said Carol Henke the Public Information Officer for the Calgary Fire Department.

To avoid having a kitchen fire Calgary Fire Departments, home fire safety checklist gives these tips: cooking is never left unattended, check for cracked/worn electrical cords on appliances, countertop appliances are unplugged when not in use, curtains and towels are clear of heat sources and there is a fire extinguisher near the kitchen.

Some easy ways to eliminate fires caused from smoking or smoking materials are: no one smokes in bed, matches and lighters are always out of the reach of children and cigarettes are never extinguished in planters, on grass, in peat moss or mulch.

According to the Calgary Fire Department Annual Report 2012, Calgary has seen a major decline in all types of fires over the past five years with 1,877 fires in 2012 down from 2,467 fires in 2008.

“A testament to the success of our prevention activities, the number of fires in Calgary has declined almost 24 per cent over the past five years.”

The largest type of fire that the Calgary Fire Department responded to is structural fires, with that number being 986 in 2012.

The Calgary Fire Department has a home fire safety checklist where residents can find out their grade on how fire safe their home is. The checklist categories for inside the home include detectors, escape planning, kitchen, living areas, bedroom, basement and garage. There is also a section for outside the home. This checklist can be found at www.calgary.ca.

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