Fire Prevention Week sets important reminders

By Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Contributor

Jay Goupil, fire investigator with Regional Emergency Services, and Juanita Edwards, support clerk for fire prevention, were busy informing and educating residents on the importance of fire safety and prevention. Photos by Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Weekly

Jay Goupil, fire investigator with Regional Emergency Services, and Juanita Edwards, support clerk for fire prevention, were busy informing and educating residents on the importance of fire safety and prevention. Photos by Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Weekly

“Fire” may be the most detestable word in our region right now, but nobody can argue with how important it is to be educated about it.

Learning about preventing fire was a focus when Regional Emergency Services (RES) hosted their eighth annual Fire Prevention Week Community Kickoff event on October 8, 2016 at MacDonald Island.

Jay Goupil, fire investigator with RES noted fire safety is always paramount, but even more so now with holidays around the corner.

“Fire prevention week is an international event throughout North America. It runs from October 9 to 15 focusing on general fire safety at home and work. The goal is to provide basic education about fire, and how to keep our homes safe from its damages. Most home fires are unattended cooking fires. Don’t leave the kitchen while cooking – don’t go shopping with the turkey in the oven, or check Facebook,” he emphasized.

Goupil, who has been with the firefighters association for over seven years noted on a bad week, there could be one home fire a week in the region.

“This is why we are providing as much education as possible today so home owners, and families can be safe. Have a home escape plan, how to get out, who you are going to call, and where you will meet.”

Free smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms were also distributed at the event, which also hosted a free barbecue, and a grease fire demo with a repeated message to never throw water on a grease fire. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius, and ignites the fire.

“I just want to remind everyone, if they couldn’t come down for the event then you can pick a free smoke detector, and carbon monoxide alarm at the downtown fire hall,” Goupil added.

Local firefighter Garrett Hovagimia was at the event with an ambulance; and was delighted with the turnout. He appreciated the community coming in to learn more about fire safety.

Local firefighters Eric Einagel (left) and Garrett Hovagimia at the Regional Emergency Services eighth annual Fire Prevention Week Community Kickoff event at MacDonald Island on October 8.

Local firefighters Eric Einagel (left) and Garrett Hovagimia at the Regional Emergency Services eighth annual Fire Prevention Week Community Kickoff event at MacDonald Island on October 8.

“It’s been a good turnout. We’ve had tons of kids having a good time going through the ambulance, and fire trucks. The trucks are big and red, and attractive to them, something they don’t see up close normally except when they are rushing by with sirens on,” he shared with a smile.

And, those sirens got his attention on the afternoon of May 3rd, when Hovagimia was getting ready for his shift.

“I was home; and got called in at noon. I didn’t understand the full magnitude till we pulled into some residential areas and came in full view. You have to take it in real quick, make a quick decision, and go from there,” added Hovagimia, who is born and raised in Fort McMurray and been with the fire department for three years.

Local resident of 13 years, Crystal Lewis Wilton enjoyed the event with her son.

“We wanted to come in and check out all the information. This is an important community event,” she said.

For more information, visit rmwb.ca/fireprevention or call 780-792-5519.

– Connect Weekly –