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The theme for Fire Prevention Week 2017 is Every Second Counts, Plan 2 Ways Out.

Yesterday residents of the Winkler area were invited to the Winkler Fire Hall to learn what Every Second Counts, Plan 2 Ways Out meant.

While children could run around the hall playing on the trucks, learn about the fire department's history, and play with the fire hose while parents learned how to prevent household fires.

Richard Paetzold, Winkler's Fire Chief shared his three key elements of fire safety.

"Having working smoke detectors, they have to be replaced every 10 years. If you have battery operated ones, the batteries should be replaced once a year. Make sure you have a way out, exits aren't blocked and having a second way out in case one is not available. Having a meeting place outside so you know everyone has gotten out."

Greg Zimmerman, Fire Chief at Altona/Rhineland Emergency Services, recommends practicing two ways out of your home with your children.greg firepreventionweek 2017Greg Zimmerman, Fire Chief at Altona/Rhineland Emergency Services, holding a prize that can be won through a fire prevention week contest

"The obvious plan would be to go out your bedroom door and out the front or back door of your house, but sometimes due to smoke or heat, particularly smoke, that may not be the practical solution so you should have a plan for an alternate exit," he said.

Zimmerman also emphasized the importance of teaching children fire safety skills.

"You have to remember that if there's a fire occurring it could be smoky...it's a very confusing time for children. So unless they practice this and this becomes second nature, children can have a tendency not to leave their homes or their rooms, or get lost in the process," he said. "I recommend that parents practice on a monthly basis their home fire drill with their children. You have to remember that new studies have indicated that children don't always hear the smoke alarm."

If a child is sleeping with their door open, Zimmerman recommends they learn to close their door. If a child does smell smoke in the hallway, they should take the alternate route out.

Zimmerman will be handing out brochures to the École Elmwood School and the Rosenfeld Elementary School. Children can draw their two-way out plan inside the brochure for a chance to win a prize. One of the prizes is a child-sized firefighter outfit.

For people who want to learn more about fire safety, the Altona fire hall will be open Thursday evening. "We're having a bit of an open house, it will open up the fire hall from about 4 pm until about 7 pm and we'll have lots of information on various subjects and you can bring the kids by for a little tour of the hall or jump up and down on the trucks and see what it's like, and for adults they can just stop in and get any sort of fire prevention information they would like," said Zimmerman.

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