Change your smoke detector and plan two ways out. Those are the key messages being delivered during Fire Safety Week 2017.

The door may be the obvious way out, but in case that route is blocked by smoke or flames it is important to have a back-up route planned. Another tip is to have an outside meeting place in case family members have to use different exits to escape. MLA Shaye Anderson encourages families to not only have a plan, but to use it as well.

“Families that have a home fire escape plan and practice it are much more likely to get out of their homes safely. I’ve made it a priority in my home to have a plan in place to protect my family, and I think it’s important for all Albertans to do the same. Knowing what to do and where to go, especially if your doors are blocked, can save lives.”

It is also important to test smoke detectors regularly and to replace batteries to ensure smoke detectors are always in working order. Between 2012 to 2016, the smoke alarm did not activate due to power failure in 27 per cent of the fires where a smoke alarm was present.

Fire Prevention Week runs from October 8 to 14, 2017. It began as a way to mark the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In 2016, there were 4,324 fires in Alberta resulting in 29 deaths and 166 injuries. Cooking fires, fires caused by smokers’ materials and fires involving electrical wiring in the home accounted for 68 per cent of all home fires.