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Protect yourself from fire

Don’t let your guard down when it comes to your family's safety and security

There have been too many events in the news recently that warrant us to all look at our daily activities and how our family can be more safe and secure.

On Friday, a coroner’s jury recommended 39 improvements for retirement homes and assisted living centres.  Recommendations included automatic sprinklers, smoke detectors in all sleeping rooms, automatic door closers, hold-open devices, regular fire drills, and tougher enforcement.  This was a result of an investigation into a 2009 fire at a retirement residence in Muskoka that killed four and critically injured six people. 

Good recommendations, but this is the fourth coroner’s jury to call for automatic sprinklers in nursing and retirement homes.  It’s costly but when will they be implemented?

On Friday, a fire broke out in a retirement home in Hawkesbury.  There were no sprinklers and an elderly couple died in the fire.  Were smoke detectors in place and did the home have a fire plan?

On Thursday, four men posing as construction workers knocked at a home, which lead to a woman being attacked during a home invasion-style robbery.  Do construction hats and a tool box mean the callers are legitimate?

On Sunday, I had a runner tell me she accompanied a lost, male runner on a path through a secluded forest.  She was being friendly and helpful, but was she aware of the potential danger?

Last week, during a telephone call, a customer’s young daughter told me her parents weren’t home.  Should she have answered the phone?

Family safety and security tips:

  •       Take a second to think before you act.  If you have any hesitation, don’t do it.
  •       Have working, monitored smoke detectors on each floor of your home. 
  •       Have a fire plan in place, and practice it.
  •       Know who is at your door before you open it.  Reputable companies don’t just show up.  In the rare case that they do, call the company (use a phone book or search on-line, don’t call a number provided by the person at the door).
  •       Children should not answer the phone unless you’re home.  Devise a plan so that you can call home (like ring twice, hang up, and call back).
  •       Keep an eye on what your family posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Telling the world you are going on a vacation or to a concert equates to putting a sign on your front lawn to tell everyone you’re not home.
  •       Keep your alarm armed, even when you’re at home.  Have a distress user code programmed.
  •       Install deadbolts on all your exterior doors and lock them, even when you’re just in the backyard or garden.
  •       Use a peephole, window, or camera intercom to see who is at the door before opening it.  If you don’t recognize the person, don’t open the door.  If someone is too close that you can’t see them, ask them to step back.
  •       Be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Much better to be safe than sorry.

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