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Fire prevention week: The sights and sounds of fire safety

Learn the Sights and Sounds of Fire Safety during Fire Prevention Week 2021
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Test fire alarms each month; and replace them every year, says Calgary Fire Department. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

"Learn the Sights and Sounds of Fire Safety" is the theme for Fire Prevention Week 2021. This year, The Calgary Fire Department will launch the Fire Prevention Week fire safety education program for Calgarians with the Calgary Hitmen.

The Calgary Hitmen are hosting a smoke alarm giveaway at their home opener game on Sunday, October 3, 2021. Members of the Calgary Fire Department will be at the game, on the concourse level, distributing smoke alarms, donated by Kidde Canada. They will also be educating citizens on the sights and sounds that these alarms make, to both indicate a fire or when your alarm should be replaced.

Residents are reminded that when an alarm makes a continued sequence of loud beeps, that means there’s an emergency. When you hear this, get out, stay out and call 9-1-1. When an alarm makes a single "chirp" every 30 to 60 seconds that usually means the battery is low and must be changed.

"The Calgary Fire Department wants to make sure you know how best to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from fires," said Chief Steve Dongworth. "We encourage all Calgarians to acknowledge Fire Prevention Week and learn about the sounds, sights and other alerts smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make, what they mean, and how to respond to them."

While all smoke alarms need to be tested once a month, battery-powered alarms, or alarms with battery backups, need to have their batteries changed at least once a year. All smoke alarms (whether battery-operated or hard-wired) need to be replaced every 10 years.

For those unable to respond to auditory signals, assistive equipment is available to help people feel and see the signs of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. These devices use a combination of strobe lights and vibration devices called "bed or pillow" shakers to alert people of an emergency. When using these alarms, residents are reminded that if you "see the flash and feel the vibration" get out, stay out and call 911.

Fire Prevention Week is held annually by fire departments across North America. It was proclaimed in Canada in 1919 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, as well as a major fire that destroyed the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa on Feb. 3, 1916.

To learn more about Fire Prevention Week, visit calgary.ca/firepreventionweek.