The Minden Hills Fire Department was asked to assist with an “outdoor yard cleanup” on Sept. 17 at Floralan Park Drive in Minden. According to a press release from the fire department, they received help from a couple of volunteers who were available to assist with cleaning up the outdoor yards for the tenants of the complex from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“We were asked to assist with the cleanup and provide a fire safety message about reducing the fire load and combustibles that can collect around the yards, fences and buildings.” said Deputy Fire Chief Shain Duda. “We want to remind everyone that they need to take responsibility for their family’s fire safety.”
The press release included some simple reminders which were also reiterated by Fire Chief/CEMC Nelson Johnson during a phone interview with The Minden Times.
The press release stated:
“There are some very simple things you can do to prevent buildup of combustible materials that contribute to fires around your home:
Reduce combustible materials near your home by chipping branches and small trees and composting lighter vegetation.
Manage the vegetation around your home by reducing shrubs, evergreen trees and dead material within 12 meters of buildings and create a non-combustible zone up to 2.5 meters from your home, when possible.
Work with neighbors or a neighborhood association to keep these common areas thinned, pruned, and healthy. If these areas are left unmanaged and fill in with dense vegetation or down and dead wood, the overall wildfire hazard of the community greatly increases.
The Minden Hills Fire Department reminds everyone that only working smoke alarms give you and your family the early warning you need to safely escape a fire in your home:
Practice a home escape plan with everyone in your home so everyone knows exactly what to do if the smoke or carbon monoxide alarms sound in an emergency.”
When asked how the recent cleanup event went, Fire Chief Johnson replied, “Excellent! We had two great big bins of garbage hauled away.”
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the department has not been able to get out to larger community events in recent months. This cleanup event was a small one that served as a safe way to engag e the community and remind everyone that fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. While the department is there to help in an emergency, they are also keen to spearhead initiatives like this cleanup event which focus on prevention and creating a fire safe community. The fire chief stressed that fire safety takes everybody.
In addition to reminding people to reduce combustibles, he also reminded people to “learn the sounds of fire safety.” By having and practising a fire safety plan, which includes knowing the sounds of your smoke alarm and your fire bell, people can be better able to respond during a fire emergency.
The theme “learn the sounds of fire safety” was chosen as a theme across North America because this year many people found themselves learning and working at home or other remote locations. Many were unaware of the sound of the fire safety equipment in these buildings and did not have the chance to learn about them through school or workplace drills.