Fire Prevention Week kicks off today and the Fire Chiefs' Association of B.C. says it is a good time to make sure that smoking alarms at homes and workplaces are functioning properly.
According to the organization, approximately half of all residential fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when residents are asleep and smoke alarms are needed in every bedroom.
"The FCABC is pleased to support Fire Prevention Week," said Tim Pley, president of the association. "The 2015 theme 'hear the beep where you sleep' reminds us all of the critical need to have working smoke alarms in all homes and that those alarms are located where they can be heard by occupants who are sleeping."
He added that in B.C., efforts are underway to increase the presence of working smoke alarms in residential homes and that the devices should be tested regularly.
Fire preparedness activities will be taking place at fire halls and schools across the province this week and a social media campaign will be delivered through Twitter aimed at providing fire safety tips to British Columbians.
The awareness week, held across North America, is the longest running public health and safety observance on record and falls on the anniversary of North America's most significant fires — the 1871 Chicago fire.
On average, one British Columbian is injured by fire every 44 hours in the province and the FCABC said fatality rates rise 75% when a working smoke alarm is not present.
Most residential fires are caused by stove top burners, but other ignition sources include electrical, fireplaces, chimneys and lit cigarettes.
For more info on Fire Prevention Week go to www.firepreventionweek.org. For fire prevention tips, go to www.fiprecan.ca/fire-prevention-fact-sheets.