The Calgary Fire Department kicked off Fire Prevention Week with four community open houses around the city Saturday.
The theme for this year is “Don’t Wait – Check the Date,” a reminder for Calgarians to check the expiry date of their smoke alarms to ensure their safety.
Fire officials say smoke alarms expire after 10 years.
“In 2015, one quarter of housefires in Calgary, which resulted in injury, occurred in homes without working smoke alarms,” Carol Henke, a Calgary Fire Department public information officer, said.
Even newer homes and communities can be at risk as their smoke alarms may be nearing the 10-year expiry date, according to the Calgary Fire Department.
The open houses were held at stations in McKenzie Towne, Symons Valley, Saddletowne and Signal Hill.
Open house visitors were given tours by their local firefighters, who also shared life-saving fire safety tips and invited children of all ages to climb aboard fire trucks and put themselves in the driver’s seat of their own adventure.
The Calgary Fire Department also launched its Smoke Alarm Selfie Contest on The City of Calgary Facebook page. The winning household will receive a visit from fire crews, who will test the home’s smoke alarms, help create a home escape plan and leave behind a swag bag.
Other events planned for Fire Prevention Week include the door-to-door Smoke Alarm Blitz to test and replace smoke alarms in Parkridge Estates on Oct. 12, and naming this year’s Junior Fire Chief on Oct. 13.
“Alberta’s Office of the Fire Commissioner recommends smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this requirement, many homes have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk,” Spence Sample, acting fire commissioner, said.
Fire Prevention Week was proclaimed in Canada in 1919 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, as well as a major fire that destroyed the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa on Feb. 3, 1916.
Fire Prevention Week is led by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and runs from Oct. 9 to 15.