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Fire Week is all about escape

Practice, practice, practice.

That’s the message Vaughan Fire and Rescue, along with fire departments across Canada, is trying to get out during the Oct. 7-13 Fire Prevention Week.

“This year, the theme is Practice Your Escape Plan,” said Vaughan fire inspector André Clafton in a Wednesday morning call.

It’s a message Clafton wants to hammer home because an escape plan is not something on the minds of too many families, he said.

“Parents are not practising a fire escape route,” Clafton said. “They don’t have two ways out; they don’t have a special meeting place.”

Having a plan in place – and making sure everyone in the home knows it – can save lives, he said. To illustrate the point, he told a story that he remembered seeing on the news not long ago about a fire with disastrous consequences.

“The mother got out one way and the kid went out another way,” Clafton related. “The mother panicked because she didn’t know where her son was, so she went back in and perished in the fire.”

Having a plan in place also helps firefighters save lives and quickly put an inferno out, he said.

“It’s very important to have that (plan) down pat so that when we show up on scene and ask, ‘Is everybody accounted for?’, if they say yes it changes the way we fight the fire,” Clafton said. “We’re not sending people in to look for somebody.”

Vaughan Fire and Rescue has several events planned for Fire Prevention Week, including open houses at several of its fire halls: Oct. 9 at Station 7-1 at Bathurst and Centre Sts.; Oct. 10 at Station 7-5 at Weston Rd. and Hwy. 7; Oct. 11 at the new Station 7-9 at Islington Ave. and Rutherford Rd.; and Oct. 12 at Station 7-7 at Hwy. 400 and Major Mackenzie Dr.

“We’ll have some old trucks there,” Clafton said. “We’ll have fire extinguishers there so the kids can practise (with them).

“And we’ll have Sparky walking around,” he said, referring to the well-known fire prevention dog.

Vaughan Today
Friday, October 5, 2007
Page: 5
Byline: Philip Alves