Open house opens eyes to the need for fire safety

Port Colborne firefighters demonstrated how quickly a fire can spread at their open house Saturday.

It wasn’t all fun and games Saturday Oct. 13/2018 at the Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Department’s Open House to cap off Fire Prevention Week.

“The theme this year is ‘Look,’ ‘Listen,’ and ‘Learn,’” fire prevention officer Scott Lawson said. “We are reminding people to look for and remove possible fire hazards, listen for smoke alarms and learn the escape plan.”

“We stress the last one because when they hear the smoke alarm they really need to get out of the house quickly and safely,” he said.

A point that was demonstrated when they showed the burn cell.

The burn cell is a small room for a controlled demonstration. The fire department had typical household items in the room, a chair, table, some newspapers, a smoke alarm.

The demonstration showed how in less than a minute, a fire went from ignition to fully engulfed.

“This is for the parents,” firefighter Wayne Benner Jr. said to the gathered families. “We have tried to educate your children as to what is safe and have them bring that home. It’s up to you parents to see how fast a fire can happen and start to implement those plans.”

Upon ignition Lawson was calling out timings. In less than 15 seconds, the smoke alarm was sounding, in less than 30 seconds, fire had spread to most of the lower furniture, in less than 45 seconds the entire room was fully engulfed.

“No one could survive that,” Chief Tom Cartwright said.

A hushed silence fell around the crowd as the adults and children reflected on the quickness of this event.

“When people see that they get an idea of the reality of the danger, “Cartwright said. “They also get a better idea of what we have to deal with.”

With the weather turning, the time has come again to check your batteries in your smoke alarms and your carbon monoxide alarms.

If you need help with your alarms you can call the Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Service Department at 905 834 4512 for help in inspecting your alarms, making sure you have them in the right place and making sure you have enough to cover your house.