South Peace News
High Prairie Fire Chief Ken Melynk advises people to always protect themselves and to be prepared for a fire.
“Know what to do in case of a fire in your home or workplace,” Melnyk says.
“The most important thing in a fire is for firefighters to get in and for occupants to get out.”
The advice follows the theme “Every Second Counts, Plan 2 Ways Out” for National Fire-Prevention Week, Oct. 8-14.
Melnyk urges people to always be prepared, know what to do, and to have regular fire drills. Also, make sure all windows can open and close for rescue purposes.
“If you have a fire in your home, and you’re in a bedroom or other room with a door, open the door slightly and look around,” Melnyk says.
“If you see fire or smoke, close the door immediately and put bedding material under the door to block any smoke from coming in.”
Other helpful tips include:
* Don’t open the window if it’s too unsafe to escape;
* Go to the window and get the firefighters’ attention;
* Double-check to ensure all appliances and lights are turned off.
* Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it. Make sure it has an annual inspection.
Fire departments in the region are seeing a trend of fewer fire calls than in previous years. Melnyk believes that could be attributed to several reasons.
“People are more cautious with outdoor fires because they are more aware of wildfires in B.C. and southern Alberta this summer and in past years in Fort McMurray and Slave Lake,” Melynk says.
“People are also safer about fire when they see incidents and results on social media and in movies.”
Children and youth are also seeing that and learning more about fires at school, he adds.
“Our fire prevention message is finally getting out,” Melnyk says.
People are starting to realize that they could be victims of fire, too, he adds.
Fire departments in the town and county are calling out for more recruits.
“It’s all about serving and protecting your community and making it safer for residents,” Melnyk says.
“All communities and fire halls in the region need and welcome new firefighters.”
Fire departments extend the call to men and women from age 18 and older to join.
“There’s a job to do for everyone,” Melnyk says.
The High Prairie Fire Department also operates a junior firefighter program for ages 16-17 years to train the younger generation.
For information on the town fire department, please phone Melnyk at  523-3525 or  523-7733 [cell].
In the county, phone the fire chief’s office at  776-0007.