Smoking, a leading cause of fatal residential fires in Chatham-Kent

Photo: CKFES

October 8th to 14th is Fire Prevention Week and Chatham-Kent Fire & Emergency Services (CKFES) and Chatham Kent Public Heath Unit (CKPHU) are encouraging residents to take action and reduce the risk of house fires and potential fatalities.

“Homes can be completely engulfed in flames in a matter of minutes,” says Whitney Burk, Public Educator at CKFES. “As fires can spread quickly, it is important for people to reduce their risk by not smoking in their homes and to dispose of their butts safely when smoking outside.”

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” hopes to remind Chatham-Kent residents about the importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. During Fire Prevention Week the CKFES will be visiting apartments over three storeys delivering the My Part – Apartment Fire & Emergency Safety Planning campaign. Discussing evacuating safety or shelter-in-place during an emergency. Fire crews will also be encouraging residents who smoke, to smoke outside.

“Smoking inside the home exposes everyone to second-hand smoke from which there is no risk-free level of exposure and puts them at risk of fire related injury or death,” says Laura Fay, Public Health Nurse at CKPHU. “To reduce second-hand smoke and fire risks, landlords and tenants can adopt smoke-free policies to make their buildings a safer and healthier place to live.”

According to a 2014 report by the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, 89 per cent of adults in Ontario think that smoking should not be allowed in multi-unit housing. Smoke-free polices are healthy, legal and in demand and can significantly improve the overall well-being of those living in multi-unit dwellings.

The partnership between CKPHU and CKFES aims to educate landlords and tenants about the risks of smoking in multi-unit dwellings across CK, in hopes of increasing the number of smoke-free housing options in our community, said CKFES officials.

For more information about the My Part – Apartment Fire & Emergency Safety Planning campaign visit –www.ckfes.ca or call Chatham-Kent Fire & Emergency Services at 519-360-1198. For information about smoke-free policies visit smokefreehousingon.ca or call Chatham Kent Public Health at 519 352 7270.

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