Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fire Safety Task Force Respects Seniors

The deadly fire in the Quebec Care Home last January had a ripple effect across our country. Very few Canadians have not had some type of contact with care homes. I personally have had a number of differing experiences from a great grandmother who lived her final day’s in one year’s ago, to my wife who recently retired from a 30 year career in a nursing home, or her Aunt who currently resides in that same care home.

Care homes touch my family, but they also touch me professionally because in the fire protection business we understand the stress that can be caused be false fire alarm signals, sprinkler issues, or suppression problems that can slow or stop a facility that needs to feed many people. False alarms aside the real concerns are when there truly is an emergency situation that requires the very rapid relocation of a large number of people, many who need assistance. The very reason they are in care.

After the Quebec tragedy the Manitoba Government created a Fire Safety Task Force to look into what was needed here, and what the best solutions should be. The Manitoba chapter of the CFAA (CDN Fire Alarm Assn) felt they should have a presence in this task force, and our sales manager Phil Pickering volunteered to attend the meetings offer industry opinions, and report back as things developed. Phil took the position that while having fire plans are important they didn’t solve the problem of early fire alarm notification, or mitigating the spread of fire through a sprinkler system. I’m pleased that Phil’s suggestions were taken into consideration along with many other points brought forward by the professionals on the task force.

Our Seniors deserve the respect, and care to be properly protected at a time in their lives when we are entrusted to provide exactly that. I recently read a poem that sums this up perfectly.

See Me

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?

Are you thinking, when you look at me --

A crabby old woman, not very wise,

Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes,

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply,

When you say in a loud voice -- "I do wish you'd try."

Who seems not to notice the things that you do,

And forever is losing a stocking or shoe,

Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will,

With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill. 

Is that what you're thinking, is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse, you're looking at ME...

I'll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still;

As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will. 

I'm a small child of ten with a father and mother,

Brothers and sisters, who love one another,

A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet.

Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet;

A bride soon at twenty -- my heart gives a leap,

Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;

At twenty-five now I have young of my own,

Who need me to build a secure, happy home;

A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast,

Bound to each other with ties that should last;

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,

But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn;

At fifty once more babies play 'round my knee,

Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead,

I look at the future, I shudder with dread,

For my young are all rearing young of their own,

And I think of the years and the love that I've known;

I'm an old woman now and nature is cruel --

'Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body is crumbled, grace and vigor depart,

There is now a stone where once I had a heart,

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,

And now and again my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,

And I'm loving and living life over again,

I think of the years, all too few -- gone too fast,

And accept the stark fact that nothing can last --

So I open your eyes, nurses, open and see,

Not a crabby old woman, look closer, nurses -- see ME!

This poem was found among the possessions of an elderly lady who died in the geriatric ward of a hospital. No information is available concerning her -- who she was or when she died.

Several other provinces have made similar commitments to their care homes showing the same levels of care and concern for the people that brought us to where we are today. I’m very impressed that the Fire Safety Task Force moved as quickly as they did making the right decisions. I’m even more impressed with how fast the government saw the value of those recommendations, considered the dignity of our seniors, and put this into action.

If you can make it burn, we can put it out!

Posted by Rob Read at 2:41 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WAKE UP Manitoba We’re On Fire

If you think this is about how well the provincial economy is doing you’ll be disappointed, and should probably stop here. Losses due to fires in Manitoba have been very high so far this year and we need to start taking fire protection far more seriously. Since January 2015 we have had 8 serious fires in our province with several deaths to animals, and most importantly children. This seems very heavy for only 9 weeks into the New Year. The time is long past that we start taking a much larger role in our personal protection.

Relying on others such as fire fighters to save your life should be a last resort. By taking just a few precautions & training you could put out the fire before it engulfs your home, or get you safely out of harms path. Every time a fire fighter enters a burning building they are risking their lives for you. This is something that should never be taken lightly.

Statistics for the fire losses we are currently experiencing will not be out for a very long time, but when you consider the people out of work because their workplace no longer exists, the financial hardship that those business owners face because statistically most businesses won’t recover from that type of loss, the hit insurance agencies take which effect everyone’s rates, and of course there’s no price to be placed on the lost loved ones this screams to me that we need to stop waiting for someone else fix it. “It’ll never happen to me” happens more often that we would like.

So what can we do to address this? Testing your Smoke and CO detectors twice a year is a good start but doesn’t go far enough.

Kidde Smoke Alarms available at Bison Fire

  • Do you have fire extinguishers in critical areas of your home, garage, or shops/sheds where you have gas, oils and electrical cords? Do they work?
  • Are your Smoke & CO alarms over 10 years old? If so replace them. They get dirty and lose functionality.
  • Have you cleaned your dryer vent, and ducting?
  • Do you have stuff piled around your furnace, hot water tank, or exits? If so remove it.
  • Do you have an escape plan, and practise it? This is where an extinguisher might create an exit.
  • Do you know what type you need, and how to operate a fire extinguisher?
  • Do you have an escape ladder stored in a central area on the second floor in 2 storey homes?
  • Do you talk to your children about fire safety? Don’t rely on schools to teach them.

Residential Fire Escape Ladder

There are also many products available to help ensure your safety.

There are many web sites that can be searched to help ensure you are protected at home. Make it a family event to look into a new technique, and practise what you are learning. I can’t imagine what my life would be like with one or more people missing especially knowing that I could have taken a few simple precautions, and spent ½ hour less every six months in front of the television. The costs are minimal the return is massive. As I said earlier “The time is long past that we start taking a much larger role in our personal protection.”  The life you save could be your own.

If you can make it burn, we can put it out!

Bison Fire Extinguishers

Posted by Rob Read at 10:15 AM 0 Comments