The Chilliwack Fire Department will be hosting different events throughout the community on Oct. 5 and 9 for Fire Prevention Week.
The public is invited to meet local firefighters, try on their gear and learn more about fire hazards in homes, fire prevention, what to do if a fire occurs, testing smoke alarms and developing a fire safety plan.
Activities include a Fire Safety Fair, Fire Prevention Week Display, Open House at the Yarrow Fire Hall and Community Fire Drill.
This year's theme-due to the large number of fires that start on the stovetop-is "Prevent Kitchen Fires."
"We get them a lot because people leave the kitchen and don't watch what they're cooking," said Lisa Axelson, public educator and fire inspector with the Chilliwack Fire Department. "Probably 50 per cent of our fires that happen during the day end up around kitchen."
Chilliwack firefighters responded to 61 kitchen-related fires from January 2013 to September 2013-a jump from only 26 in 2012.
Common household distractions and the lure of technology cause people to leave their stovetops unattended, putting them at risk of starting a fire.
"They tend to be preoccupied with other things, and not doing what they're suppose to be doing, which is watching the stove," Axelson said. "It's easy to get engrossed in something and forget what you're doing."
She recalled an incident where a local girl went to the bathroom and left a pot on the stove. When she returned a short time later, it had ignited.
"If you're going to leave the kitchen, turn the stove off," Axelson said.
In the event a pot does catch fire, a lid can be slid overtop to extinguish the flames. A box of baking soda, shaken over the fire, can also be used to smother the blaze.
Do not attempt to move a burning pot, and never reach over a fire to turn off the stove.
The final event of the week is the Community Fire Drill on Oct. 9, which Axelson hopes will remind families-mostly parents-to brush up on their fire preparedness.
On average, a fire goes from a spark to dark, smoky and life-threatening within five minutes.
According to Axelson, every family should be prepared with a fire safety plan and regular safety drills.
"We want every single family to remember, to understand, and to practice it."
. For a full listing of events and more fire prevention information or tips, visit www.chilliwack.com/fire or call 604-792-8713.
© Copyright 2013