Official launch of Fire Prevention Week 2005

Fire Prevention Week was officially launched today on Parliament Hill by the Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing, together with Frank Albert, past President of Fire Prevention Canada, as well as elementary schoolchildren, fire department officials, children’s performer Mary Lambert and Sparky the Fire Dog.

This year, Fire Prevention Week runs from October 9 to 15. Its theme is “Use Candles with Care: When you go out, blow out!” The aim is to increase awareness and reduce fire-related injuries and fatalities caused by the negligent use of candles.

“Many house fires are started by candles, especially during the holiday season,” said Minister Fontana. “These tragedies could easily be avoided. I challenge Canadians to ensure they use candles safely and to teach their children to do the same.”

Among the most common causes of candle fires are leaving candles unattended, falling asleep while a candle is lit and using candles for light. A simple safety measure is always to blow out candles when leaving a room unattended. In case of a blackout, it is good safety to use a battery-powered light source rather than candles.

Other dangers include locating candles too close to flammable objects or in a spot where children or pets might knock them over. Accidents will be avoided if candles are kept away from items that can catch fire, and placed out of the reach of children and pets. Another good practice is to use a proper candle holder that is big enough to collect dripping wax. The candle should be firmly seated in the holder so that it will not tip over, and the holder should be placed on a level surface.

“Fires in homes are still a major concern,” said Fire Prevention Canada’s current President, Tom Makey. “The common causes are well known, and the ways to prevent or detect fires are simple. Pay attention to the messages from your fire department and stay safe.”

The Labour Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada promotes and encourages compliance with national and international fire protection standards within the federal government and First Nations communities. All levels of government and all Canadians share responsibility for protecting people from the consequences of fire.

First observed in Canada 86 years ago, Fire Prevention Week reminds Canadians of the need to remain alert and responsive to the dangers of fire.