Higher provincial death rates have local firefighters asking people to be more careful at home.
According to statistics from 2018 people died in fires at a higher than normal rate say provincial fire officials.
Looking at statistics from Gravenhurst Fire Department there was an increase in emergency responses of seven per cent. No injuries or deaths were reported locally.
The five-year trend in Gravenhurst has shown a decrease of nearly 30 per cent for fire department responses between 2012 and 2017.
“Deaths due to fires have been on a gradual decline in recent years, but in 2018 the number of people who died in fires across Ontario rose to 101,” said Fire Chief Larry Brassard of the Gravenhurst Fire Department. “Everyone needs to be aware of this because far too often people tend to disassociate themselves from this reality.”
The stats identify some trends in terms of what is causing most fires in the home. The leading cause continues to be careless smoking and kitchen fires.
A third element, alcohol, can often be tracked into the stats.
Brassard notes some common sense approaches to the threats in the home will help make things safer. If there is smoking in the home one of the major factors to a lower chance of a fire is to use name brand cigarettes that self-extinguish quicker than so-called contraband cigarettes.
“In certain areas of the Province, contraband cigarettes that don’t self-extinguish when idle have been partly to blame, but its old habits and a lack of common sense that are also contributing factors,” said Brassard.
When it comes to cooking fires it is often discovered that starting to cook something and then falling asleep is a major factor to the incidents reported. Being present in the kitchen and watching the stove is just common sense.
“Kitchen and cooking-related fires are also preventable for the most part,” said Brassard. “Staying in the kitchen and being attentive to what’s on the stove or in the oven are the most important factors. Ensuring that element temperatures are appropriate and that pots don’t boil over is also critical.”
A lot of kitchen fires can be stopped quickly if proper fire extinguishing equipment is kept near the kitchen area.