COTTAGE COUNTRY, ON – House fires can lead to tragedy and firefighters want the community to help prevent unnecessary loss of life.

Muskoka fire prevention officers urged families to practice their home fire escape plan in a release issued Friday. It is part of their awareness campaign during Fire Prevention Week, which runs October 6th to 12th.

According to the fire department, this year’s theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!”

“When the smoke alarms sound, everyone must know where to go,” fire officials said in the release. “That’s why it is so important for everyone to have working smoke alarms and to develop and practice a home fire escape plan.”

The release added that fire and smoke can spread quickly so families have to be prepared in advance before it is too late.

Fire officers said some steps to take in developing a good plan include:

  • Identify anyone who requires assistance to get out of the home safely, such as
    small children, older adults, mentally and physically disabled
  • Make sure that you have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all
    sleeping areas
  • Make sure everyone in the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm
  • Identify all possible exits (doors and windows) and make sure they work
  • Know two ways out of all areas, if possible
  • Everyone must know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds
  • Identify a safe meeting place outside
  • Call the fire department from a neighbour’s home or cell phone
  • Practice your home fire escape plan and have everyone participate
  • Make changes to your plan if necessary

“In a fire, you may have only seconds to safely escape your home,” Gravenhurst Fire Prevention Officer Breyan Sinnott said. “Practice your home fire escape plan and make sure everyone can get out safely.”

Anyone looking for more information or tips can contact their local fire department.