SAINT JOHN (GNB) – New Brunswickers are encouraged to observe Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13. This year’s theme is Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere. It reminds people to educate themselves on how to be protected in the event of a fire.

“This annual campaign plays an important role in reminding New Brunswick families to take preventative measures that can save lives,” said acting provincial fire marshal Michael Lewis.

Data from Statistics Canada indicates that the number of structure fires declined by 26 per cent between 2005 and 2014. However, residential fires consistently accounted for roughly six of every 10 structure fires during that period. According to the data, cooking equipment and smokers’ materials caused about six in 10 residential fires.

“We know that people often make choices in fire situations that jeopardize their safety or even cost them their lives,” said Lewis. “We need to ensure people are aware of the potentially life-saving impact of escape planning and practice. We want to motivate New Brunswickers to take action and prepare in advance for home fires.”

This year’s campaign highlights three steps people can take to quickly and safely escape a fire:

  • Look for places a fire could start.
  • Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.
  • Learn two ways out of every room.

During Fire Prevention Week, the provincial government will launch a social media campaign to reinforce key fire prevention tips:

  • Look, listen and learn.
  • Use properly installed smoke alarms to protect yourself from fires caused by cooking equipment and smokers’ materials.
  • Develop and practise a home-escape plan.
  • Have heating appliances and chimneys cleaned and inspected by a professional.
  • Understand that today’s homes can burn faster than ever.

The Office of the Fire Marshal will also deliver nearly 50,000 copies of the Fire Safety Gazette to all students from kindergarten to Grade 5. This six-page publication is published annually, and contains stories, tips and puzzles that promote fire safety to youth. The Gazette encourages families to be fire-smart, to develop their own escape plan, and to practise the plan with regular drills.

Included in the Gazette is a ballot for a chance to win one of 27 backpacks filled with fire prevention-related gifts from the province’s nine firefighter associations. Students will also have the chance to win the grand prize of becoming fire chief for a day.