October 4, 2016

Cranbrook, BC (October 4, 2016) - With Fire Prevention Week starting next week, Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services would like to remind residents that fire safety should be considered and practiced every day.  Three common prevention tips associated with fire safety are to ensure smoke alarms are installed inside and outside of bedrooms, develop and practice an exit plan and close bedroom doors when sleeping.

Fire Chief Wayne Price suggests that you may want to consider installing self-closing hinges on bedroom doors to ensure a level of protection from heat, fire and smoke.  All three of these tips are practices that can save your life should a fire occur. 

“New Underwriter Laboratories research shows that sleeping with doors closed can keep smoke out of a room longer, as well as change the flow of heat and toxic gases, acting as a shield for someone trapped and unable to get out of a fire,” says Chief Price.

What a lot of people do not realize is that the dynamics of structure fires have changed significantly in past decades.  Today’s homes are built with lighter construction materials, have more open floor areas and an increase use and quantity of more flammable synthetic materials. Consider the fact that new research has shown that heat release rates of some common furnishings are over five times; that today’s fires produce 200 times as much smoke; and that homes burn eight times faster than in past decades.

“Recent building codes have acknowledged this change by requiring smoke alarms in all bedrooms and hallways outside bedrooms, to expedite early warning to occupants,” notes Price.  “To-date, they have not dealt with isolating the smoke, fire and heat from a sleeping room.  It makes sense that the next step for the life safety of occupants who are sleeping, is to require closures on bedroom doors.”

In response, the fire service has modified training standards, response procedures and strategies and tactics to adapt to the new realities of firefighting risks and challenges. 

“Recognizing the fire service’s need to adapt to modern fire behaviour, I believe it’s only logical for the homeowner and occupants to practice a higher level of prevention than in the past,” says Chief Price, adding, “it’s an old message, but more important now than ever, close your bedroom door.”

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