It's National Fire Prevention Week and Steinbach's Fire Chief Kel Toews it's important to remember this year's theme.

                             “Fire won't wait. Plan your escape.”  

Toews explains. “Fire doesn't care who you are or how you're feeling. If you're sick, if you're feeling tired - if it's coming, it's coming. So you've got to be prepared. Especially these days because there are a lot more synthetics in your home, there are a lot more toxins in the smoke, and you don't have as much time to get out, as you did in your grandparents’ era or even your parents’ era. So, it's more important to plan your escape. Just sit down with your family, plan what to do in case of a fire and practice it.” 

Toews continues, “Make sure that if your children are escaping through a window that they can open the window and get out the window and then know where to go when they get out. It's important that everyone knows the plan. Knows what to do and it becomes second nature. So plan, practice and know what you're doing.”

Steinbach Fire Chief Kel ToewsSteinbach Fire Chief Kel Toews

The fire chief says, when there is a fire in your home, whether you have an escape plan in place or not they will help you get out safely. “We guys come.” 

“If you don't have a way to get down from your window, please close your door. You’d be surprised how long that'll hold the fire out of the room you’re in. Close the door. Call 911. We don't care if everyone in the house calls 911. Let’s say you're by the 2nd-floor window, the 911 operator will have direct contact with the firefighter and you, inside the house. They'll tell us that there's somebody in the bedroom. Call 911. Tell him where you are, if you can't escape the house, we will get to you.” 

Toews says, with their ladder truck they can even access individuals at nearly any height. “If you need to get up on your roof to find a safe place, our team will still help you. These are things you can plan in advance. Think of where the safest place is for you and your family to go to stay safe. Is it safe on the roof or are you safer inside the house with windows and doors closed, because that'll hold back the fire.” 

When it comes to Smoke Detectors, Toews says, “they are a life-saving device. And again, check them in spring and fall. Check them this week too. It doesn't hurt to check them. And like I said, you've got less time to get out of the house safely, than they did 20 years ago, so the sooner you get warned, the better. Working smoke alarms will do that for you, so check them, make sure.” 

When it comes to how long it takes from making the 9/11 call until the fire crews are at your house Toews says, “It definitely varies on time of day, but we're about 7 to 8 minutes from when the pager goes to when the first truck arrives at your location.” 

Noting that when there have been big fires in Steinbach, there's been some great collaboration and support from surrounding fire halls. 

“Yeah, we've got some very well-trained, well-manned fire departments in our area that we trust and that we can call on. We know they can do the job and they always help us out. And of course, it's reciprocal. We'll help them out as well if they need it.”  

Toews adds, they had their first Fire Hall Open House in three years last week and it was a huge success. “We had a fire safety trailer there. We had the kids climb into the trucks. We did a bit of recruiting. We had Sparky, our mascot, walking around and it was a basic open house. They asked questions and the firemen answered them.”