I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge fire prevention week occurring throughout this week (4-10 October). Fire prevention week was proclaimed in Canada in 1919 to commemorate the great Chicago fire that occurred in 1871, killing more than 250 people and leaving 100,000 more homeless. Closer to home, the catastrophic fire that devastated Center Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa on February 3rd 1916 was also a contributing factor to enact this national prevention program.
The slogan for this year’s fire prevention week is “Serve up Fire Safety in the Kitchen”. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of fires and fire related injuries within Canadian homes. It is important to remember to extinguish a grease fire with a portable fire extinguisher, and never use water or flour. Keep pot handles out of reach of small children and never touch or attempt to carry a burning container outside. If a fire is not brought under control immediately, get outside and call 911. As a reminder, fire safety always takes precedence over COVID-19 precautions in the event of an emergency.
With COVID-19 precautionary measures in place throughout the National Capital Region, typical drills and or events normally occurring during fire prevention week will not take place this year. Furthermore, as many facilities have a significant reduction in occupancy rates, personnel should remain cognisant of established fire safety procedures for unoccupied buildings and take note of the precautions highlighted in the Canadian Forces Support Group (Ottawa-Gatineau) Business Resumption Plan. To ensure Government of Canada Departments maintain proficiency relating to fire safety, each Building’s Emergency Organization will conduct a theoretical exercise, thus confirming established safety programs.
The Real Property Operations (Central) Chief Fire Inspector and the fire prevention team, in partnership with Public Services and Procurement Canada are here to assist in this activity. Questions and inquiries and can be sent to CFSUOFirePrevention-PreventionIncendieUSFCO@forces.gc.ca.
I encourage all of you to make and practice a family home fire escape plan, as well as teach all members in your home about kitchen safety. To find more information and resources about home fire safety, you can visit the National Fire Protection Association website at https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education.
Thank you for your professionalism and dedication.
Captain (Navy) J.J.L.D. Bouchard
Commander, Canadian Forces Support Group (Ottawa-Gatineau) and Base Commander of Canadian Forces Base Ottawa-Gatineau
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