2 Things We Can Do During Fire Prevention Week to Make Condos Safer All Year
It is The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Prevention Week again! This year’s theme is, “Cooking safely starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention” And we don’t think this topic has ever been more important.
The pandemic forced a record number of people to stay home and cook. However, a large number of people discovered that they actually quite liked cooking and baking, with over 70% of surveyed people saying they will continue to cook at home after the pandemic.
Unfortunately, more time in the kitchen means more risks. The stats speak for themselves:
- During peak lockdown (March-May 2020), Allstate Canada Insurance reported that residential fires related to cooking or smoking jumped by a staggering 333%.
- Between 2017-2021, an average of 158,400 home fires were started by cooking activities each year.
- These fires caused an average of 470 civilian deaths and 4,150 reported civilian fire injuries annually.
- Ranges or cooktops were involved in 53% of reported home cooking fires, 88% of cooking fire deaths and 74% of cooking fire injuries.
It’s important to remember that condo building owners, boards, and property managers play a key role in helping their residents cook as safely as possible. You cannot be in their units helping them cook, but you can do the following things.
1. Talk to Your Residents About Fire Safety All-Year-Long
Creating a strong fire safety culture in your building goes well beyond Fire Prevention Week. It needs to be an ongoing conversation, 365 days a year.
Giving each new resident fire safety materials with your welcome package when they move in is a great start, but it’s important to keep the conversation going from there.
You can leverage things like:
- Newsletters/ email lists
- Social Media
- Under the door flyers and door knockers
- Bulletin boards around the building
Use these resources to keep fire safety top-of-mind throughout your building all year round.
For example, the NFPA has provided a number of great printable and shareable cooking safety tip sheets you can get.
Of course, you can talk to your residents about much more than just cooking safety. You can send reminders about your building’s fire safety policies, and more importantly, you can explain “The Why” behind these policies. Talk to them about the dangers created when we do (seemingly) little things like prop doors open or leave scooters in the hallways. If you explain The Why behind the policies, it helps your residents see these things as serious dangers instead of arbitrary rules.
2. Encourage Residents to Check Their Smoke Alarms
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this. Your building’s smoke alarms remain your first line of defense in fire safety.
As a condo building owner, manager, or board member, you may be aware that on September 28, Ontario celebrated our First Annual Test Your Smoke Alarm Day.
We work in the fire safety industry, so our Social Media feeds were full of pictures of people testing their home and office smoke alarms. BUT, when we talked to people who don’t work in the industry, most had no idea what we were talking about. This means we all still need to keep educating the general public about the importance of smoke alarms in our homes and condos, and why we need to keep checking them!
If you have any questions about how to improve your building’s fire safety culture, we would love to help! Feel free to contact us at 1 (800) 281-8863 or by clicking here.