Cochrane Fire Services will be highlighting a new topic of discussion each month as part of their safety calendar.

For the month of March, Fire Services will be out and about educating the public about fire extinguishers and how to properly use one.

Lt. Jeff Avery,  Fire Prevention Officer, says it is the first time they have done an education campaign around fire extinguishers and are hoping residents find it valuable. While business owners need to be in compliance by having and maintaining a fire extinguisher on site, it is not the same for homeowners. "We want to educate the people about having a fire extinguisher in their house, how long will they last for, how to use one and when to get it serviced."

While Avery didn't have an exact number, he guesstimates only 50% of homeowners have an extinguisher on hand. With no legislation making it a must-have, extinguishers are just good to know and good to have around for safety measures.

As far as servicing one, there is no place specifically in Cochrane but there are plenty of places where you can go. "Banff Fire Saftey, Sprouse, there's a bunch of different companies that will service them. It's about $45 to get them serviced but if you go to Walmart or Canadian Tire it as about $60 for a brand new one. If you keep on top of them they will last for a long time."

Businesses in Cochrane are required to have their extinguisher serviced once a year and homeowners should get into a similar habit to avoid them collecting dust in your closet. "There are certian things to check on, where the gauges are and to make sure the hoses are good. After 10 years, if you haven't serviced one just go buy another one."

Avery is hosting a hands-on education tutorial outside Walmart if weather cooperates on March 17, teaching residents how to use their own extinguisher safely to put out a real fire.

While not advocating people to tackle large blazes, Avery states when the "fire looks too big, then call 911 and get out of the house," but putting out a small contained fire can save you from a much bigger diseaster.


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