Richmondites asked to unplug, check alarms for fire safety

Richmond Fire-Rescue is giving residents a series of tips to prevent fires as part of B.C.’s Fire Prevention Week.

The week runs from Oct. 7 to 13, and the fire department has released a series of videos featuring their mascot Blaze the dog making Brighouse Fire Hall safer.

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The Dalmatian clad in a firefighter’s uniform unplugs extension cords in one video, since the department is asking Richmond residents to be careful about how they use them around the home in order to prevent fires.

According to the U.S. National Fire Prevention Association, electric or lighting equipment is involved in the ignition of an average of 34,000 fires annually in that country. In Canada, a 2007 report from the Alberta's Office of the Fire Commissioner identified electrical equipmet as the source of ignition in eight per cent of fires. 

Richmond’s fire department is reminding residents to only use extension cords as a temporary measure, and to have an electrician install more outlets in the home if needed. Major appliances should never be plugged in using an extension cord.

Kitchen appliances that produce heat like kettles and toaster ovens can also be a fire hazard. Richmond Fire-Rescue says you shouldn’t plug more than one of those appliances into the same outlet at the same time.

In another video, Blaze picks up a pair of smoke alarms to show that the contraptions have expiry dates.

The stickers showing when fire alarms can be used until are displayed on the sides of the white disks. If a smoke alarm doesn’t display an expiry date, you can assume it’s good until 10 years after it was manufactured.

Richmond Fire-Rescue says you should check the alarms once a month by pushing the “test” button to make sure the alarm sounds.

Other tips from Blaze include drawing an escape plan with everyone in your home so people know how to exit in case of a fire.

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