Historical Losses Remind Us How Quickly We Can Lose What We Value Most

The Bow on Tong building in downtown Lethbridge’s China Town suffered a fire on Jan 31 that led to its demolition a few days later. This building had municipal/provincial designation with the Alberta Register of Historic Places. Less than one month later and one block away, a fire at the Lethbridge Hotel occurred and has gotten even more attention.

Be it the dramatic photographs circulating social and news media, the fears surrounding the possibility of an arsonist or the historic nature of the buildings (built in 1885 and 1919!) people are talking. Here at ServiceMaster of Lethbridge it highlights a trend we’ve seen in the last year: there seem to be a lot more house fires. And while we are coming to the end of – what Lethbridge News Now deemed the worst period for house-fire deaths annually, we still have our focus set securely on fire safety and prevention.

The single most important preventative action you can take from a house fire is to install smoke alarms. While you likely know this, did you also know that building codes are constantly changing regarding them? If you live in an older home (pre 2016), you may not have an hard wired alarm in each bedroom, or each level of your home. Regardless of the age of your home, also of note is that you should test fire detectors every month and not keep them longer than ten years.

Fire extinguishers, on each level of the home are also a good idea. But if you buy them online note that they may not be up to Canadian safety standards. Look for one of the below markings on any fire extinguisher you own to ensure compliance:

Don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher? Remember the PASS acronym for proper usage: Pull the pin. Aim at the BASE of the fire. Squeeze the trigger. Sweep back and forth. As well, the city of Lethbridge occasionally offers fire extinguisher training. Email [email protected] for information.

Another important note: riskier items such as space heaters and stoves should NEVER be left unattended, even briefly. A fire can spread and become out of control extremely quickly. Note also that any household electronic can be deemed a risky item. Follow manufacturer guidelines always, and never, ever overload a single outlet with too many plugs. Lighters, matches, candles or flying lanterns need to be used with care, and always kept out of the reach of children.

Speaking of children, have you gone over your emergency evacuation plan with them recently? If you need some help making one up, the National Fire Protection Association has great advice, safety tips and printable maps. Practicing your plan is vital in case a fire occurs.  Also be certain that your children are familiar with “Stop, Drop and Roll”.

While preparation will help you avoid, minimize the damage from, and survive a house fire; sometimes they happen anyhow. If a fire starts in your home (or any location you are at) leave immediately and dial 911. Do not try to save possessions, leave that to the professionals.

Should you need assistance after a fire in your home, garage or business, contact us at ServiceMaster of Lethbridge to get help on the way! and get you back in your restored property, as quickly as possible.

Want more information about different types of fire or what to do after a fire?