Tragically most First Nations Communities still lack adequate fire prevention education and detection plans
Again we read of yet another family tragedy yesterday, where a mom and 4 children have perished in a house fire at Big Trout Lake, northern Ontario Canada.
“A 2010 federal study found that First Nations people on reserves are 10 times more likely to die in a house fire than people in the rest of Canada.”
Was there adequate fire protection, water pressure enough firefighters and most importantly enough detection?
“First Nations leaders, including Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, have blamed this on inadequate housing, unsafe building standards, lack of enforcement of building codes, and outdated or ineffective firefighting equipment.”
Remote villages such as Big Trout Lake have their unique challenges and systematically planning is part of survival.
Redesigning how homes are built for these unique villages is a starting point but one important thing to establish is education on escaping a fire. Preventing the fire in the first place is number one.
While accidents do happen, the educational escaping component needs to be delivered consistently to become second nature. Plain and simple, we teach our kids many things and one thing we neglect to do is PLAN OUR ESCAPE when the smoke alarm sounds.
“It was hard to fight the fire because houses in the community are old, and because the First Nation lacks proper firefighting equipment, including hydrants with enough water pressure.” CBC News ·
For the people reading this including the emergency service workers (we are not exempt, there is nothing magical protecting us), how about placing home escape planning on your next health and safety meeting agenda, your tailgate talk at the work site and at your next PTA meeting.
Please make a point of discussing your home escape plan with your family
If a fire occurs and a prevention plan wasn’t discussed, there will be grief that haunts you. If you do not think it is important, then just think for a moment what it would be like to go home to a burnt out foundation tonight and everything you work for including your family is in the ash and rubble.
Avoid needless tragedy by buying, installing and maintaining fire detection devices
There are 10 year lithium battery powered smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms available in Canada that are tamper resistant. The batteries are not accessible, the devices communicate wirelessly and you can therefore place them in every single room in your house.
Saying a prayer this morning for those suffering from this most recent tragedy in Big Trout Lake, ON. We can do better. Please do your part. Regards, Duncan Rydall Chief Fire Prevention Officer