Ken Ogima Carrying the Fort William First Nations Flag Photo By:Nathan Ogden

Ken Ogima Carrying the Fort William First Nations Flag
Photo By:Nathan Ogden

FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – ABORIGINAL - Fort William First Nation will be host to a Traditional Teachers and Visiting Elders Program this weekend:

Traditional Teachers & Visiting Elders Program
EAGLE STAFF TEACHINGS
Community Centre/Bingo Hall
Saturday, March 15, 2014
CULTURAL ROOM
9am – 4pm

Traditional Teacher: Chief Dean Sayers, Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways

A C T I V I T I E S

Opening Ceremony
Eagle Staff Purpose & Protocols
Honouring Our Veterans
Eagle Staff Construction
Young Leaders Eagle Staff
Anemki Wahjewh Drum
Closing Ceremony

CHILDREN MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A PARENT

For more information contact; Cultural Coordinator: bear@fwfn.com 622.4998

Eagle Staff Teachings
Agenda

9:00am – 9:30am OPENING CEREMONY
Victor Pelletier, Elder

Sacred Pipe & Water: Chief Dean Sayers, Batchewana

Welcoming Remarks: Chief Georjann Morriseau, FWFN

9:30am – 10:15am Eagle Staff Teachings: Chief Dean Sayers
Origins & Purpose

10:15am – 10:30am B R E A K ALL

10:30am – 12:00pm Eagle Staff Protocols: Chief Dean Sayers

12:00pm – 1:00p: B U F F E T L U N C H
Deer Meat Stew, Fish, Blueberries, Water

1:00pm – 2:30pm Teachings of the Area: Victor Pelletier and Myles Pervais

2:30 pm – 2:45pm B R E A K

2:45pm – 3:45pm Eagle Staff Construction: Chief Dean Sayers

3:45pm – 4:00pm CLOSING CEREMONY
Victor Pelletier, Elder
Anemki Wahjewh FWFN Youth Drum

Fort William First Nation Chief Georgian Morrisseau

Fort William First Nation Chief Georgian Morrisseau

THUNDER BAY – FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau, continues to put the pressure on CN officials and the federal government about their plans to open the James Street Swing Bridge to vehicle traffic. Chief Morriseau, Councillor Wyatt Bannon and Director of Lands and Property Management Ian Bannon met in Edmonton last week with the railway company.

“We are still awaiting the results of their engineering report which is scheduled to be released at the end of March. Right now CN says the state of the bridge is deemed very unsafe. They will not consider any short term opening of any kind due to the capacity issues and safety, which is very frustrating to say the least. However safety is always key.” said Morriseau.

Closure of the bridge is costing businesses on both sides of the river a lot of money.

Closure of the bridge is costing businesses on both sides of the river a lot of money.


The James Street Swing Bridge is much more than just a bridge to the residents of Fort William First Nation.

While physically it links the two communities from both sides of the Kaministiquia River, it also symbolizes hope that the damage can be repaired.

With presently only one access point the First Nation is left with much longer wait times for Emergency Response personnel, safety concerns with fast moving traffic and lack of visibility-resulting in increased hazards for all traveling back and forth. Not to mention the economic impact to the businesses this closure is having for the two neighbours.

“CN will be providing communiqué for public release in the next week.

CN is running trains over the James Street Bridge. The company says the bridge is safe for trains.

CN is running trains over the James Street Bridge. The company says the bridge is safe for trains.

“We are currently in the process of meeting with the MTO to discuss various safety hazards along the highway such as adequate lighting, reduced speed limits, and temporary traffic lights,” stated FWFN in a statement.

“As a forced commute route our most precious cargo being our children are at risk everyday therefore measures must be put in place to ensure proper safety. We will also be meeting with Mayor Keith Hobbs to discuss their role with the bridge as this matter greatly impacts Fort William First Nation and the City of Thunder Bay,” concluded Chief Morriseau.

Read More:

James Street Bridge

Fort William First Nation Bridge Update

Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau

Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau

Fort William First Nation Seeks Clarity

FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – Aboriginal - Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau is holding a guarded if not skeptical position toward the proposed First Nation Education Act (FNEA) announced last Friday February 7, 2014. The Fort William First Nation Chief attended a luncheon with the federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister in Thunder Bay.

“Prime Minister Harper while flanked by Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Atleo and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Valcourt, made big promises,” stated the Chief of Fort William First Nation. “It is difficult to trust a government that approaches something as important to our people as this from a place of uncertainty. It was stated that First Nation leadership and communities were ‘extensively consulted,’ despite broad knowledge to the contrary. Right from the onset there is need for clarity”.

In a statement issued by FWFN, “The Act proposes to give First Nations greater authority over on-reserve education reforms. However the promised ‘powers’ will presumably be given from within the framework of federal legislation thereby maintaining control over the direction of any First Nation approach.

“This is neither autonomy nor recognition of the extensive work and negotiations many of our nations have been involved in to this point with Canada,” comments Morriseau.

“It is a positive that Canada has conceded to a significant funding component, however, where is the proposed funding coming from, and on what grounds can this current government commit beyond 2016?” asks Chief Morriseau. “500M over the course of 7 years amongst all First Nations communities is a broad stretch, especially within remote communities who already lack basic infrastructure. An analysis will need to be conducted further to break down the allocation of dollars, then and only then will the First Nations be able to draw an informed conclusion”.

First Nations have consistently asserted their treaty rights to resources within their respective territories; possess the knowledge and expertise to develop their own systems, laws, policies and mandates, and that the crown has a fiduciary and Treaty obligation to support processes that provide sufficient fiscal resources to properly implement education reform that is First Nation led and respects First Nation control over education reform and sustainability.

“At this time, there are many questions, and gaps regarding delivery and what will actually be provided in terms of support. In the interest of our future generations and the preservation of our nations, it may be in the best interest of First Nations, across Canada to not commit until such time we reach a reasonable representative mandate for all First Nations” says Morriseau.

Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morrisseau

Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morrisseau

James Street Bridge Impacting Economy

FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – The economic impact of the continued closure of the James Street Bridge on both Fort William First Nation, and Thunder Bay was the topic of a meeting in Fort William First Nation tonight.

Chief Georjann Morrisseau introduced the evening, with thanks for the Elders, and the Women’s drum group.

In attendance tonight was Ontario Regional Chief Beardy and Chief Peter Collins along with Mayor Keith Hobbs and Councillor Linda Rydholm.

“Our businesses are being impacted,” stated Chief Morriseau. “It is also a safety issue, and it is just a matter of time before there is a fatal accident”.

The impact of the bridge remaining closed is hitting First Nation businesses hard. Traffic to Fort William First Nation is down to half of what it was before the bridge caught fire in October. There were 15,000 vehicles per day travelling to the community, now that number is less that 7,500.

CN Remains Silent

Mayor Hobbs stated that CN has been silent.

Mayor Hobbs stated that CN has been silent.

Mayor Keith Hobbs shared with the meeting that this is an issue impacting the community. The Mayor talked about how maximizing the opportunities especially on mining are being impacted. Hobbs stated, “We have heard nothing from CN”.

Members of the audience stated, “You guys have to get moving, moving moving, get a timeline and get moving”.

CN had been invited to the meeting but declined to attend.

Support from Chiefs of Ontario

Ontario Regional Chief Beardy offered support from Chiefs of Ontario

Ontario Regional Chief Beardy offered support from Chiefs of Ontario

Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy stated, “I came out to hear an action plan”.

“I am very concerned over the safety of children,” added the Regional Chief.

“I am prepared to act on whatever plan is agreed to at this meeting. I think what we need to do here is to identify the actions needed.”

“If it is the direction of FWFN Chief and Council, to take this issue forward, on how CN is treating its neighbours”, added Regional Chief Beardy.

Regional Chief Peter Collins addressed the audience

Regional Chief Peter Collins addressed the audience

Regional Chief Peter Collins asked if the Minister of Transportation has been brought in to investigate. The former FWFN Chief said this issue is impacting families.

Addressing the audience, Chief Collins stated, “We have to put a deadline on this, for an investigation”. Chief Collins suggested that if there is no action then perhaps the next step might be to block the bridge”.

Collins stated, “It took them three days to open the bridge for rail traffic, why is there a delay?”

Neebing Road Councillor Linda Rydholm commented that while people are trying to drive safer, and while the small yellow warning lights have been installed and the yield signs bigger, there needs to be more done. The corner needs to be changed.

“The province is facing big expenses to fix the corner”, commented Rydholm. “I have asked the OPP to do more traffic control on the intersection as well. I have been focused on safety”.

Economic Impact $50,000 per Day

Economic Development Director Walter Bannon stated, “There has been a forty per cent drop in business, and the impact of the bridge closure has been $50,000 per day in revenues for businesses on the Fort William First Nation”.

“There is increased danger for students on our five school buses”.

Additionally increased response times for police, fire and Ambulances have been noted.

“Businesses in Westfort have seen a ten percent decrease in sales”, added Bannon. “Some of the merchants are just becoming aware of some of the concerns from their own member BIAs”.

“Business is down, people are being laid off, or their hours reduced”, concluded Bannon.

Increasingly from people in the audience, the term was the need for action and the term blockade kept coming up from person after person in the audience.

The lack of action and communication from CN has increasingly angered the people of Fort William First Nation.

Postcard image of the James Street Bridge

Postcard image of the James Street Bridge

Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation Unity

THUNDER BAY – Editorial - There has been a lot of talk about building bridges lately. The City of Thunder Bay premiered the “Walk a Mile Film Project” on Thursday. An over-riding theme has been building relationships, and building bridges in our community.

There is an ironic symbol that needs to be addressed in this ongoing effort. The James Street Bridge between Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation remains closed to vehicle traffic. That closure is forcing residents to detour out along Highway 61 and then further miles to Fort William First Nation.

The issue will be the subject of a public meeting on Fort William First Nation on Monday night.

The quietest player has been CN. The bridge is the responsibility of the railway company. CN was quick to ensure that the bridge was safe for rail traffic. It seems once the trains could cross, that the railway simply decided that was enough for now, and have been quiet since then.

An Editorial by Damien Lee: Burning Bridges that started the night of the fire on the bridge outlined how the fires also brought some of the racism out of the shadows. The bright light of the fire pushed away the shadows that some in the community were hiding behind.

Moving forward, if CN remains apparently content with the status quo, it is likely up to Ontario, Fort William First Nation, and the City of Thunder Bay to build a new bridge that will demonstrate the real and important links needed.

The impact on residents on Fort William First Nation, and Thunder Bay, especially business wise are likely to be a hot topic at a meeting on Fort William First Nation on Monday night.

The delay in action by CN is a demonstration that action must be taken. Likely if the bridge was not ‘train safe’ it would be a priority for CN. That it is not is a message being sent loud and clear that demands action.

The fire is out, now it is time to turn the corner and send a strong signal that it is time to move to open the bridge.

James Murray

The James Street Bridge remains closed to train, vehicle and pedestrian traffic

The James Street Bridge remains closed to train, vehicle and pedestrian traffic

Closure of James Street Bridge Concerns FWFN

FORT WILLIAM FN - Business - Fort William First Nation is expressing sincere concern over the continued closure of the James Street swing bridge. The community feels that further on-going delays in discussion are now becoming more detrimental to the health and safety of both pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

Time delays go far beyond what has been estimated by emergency services. Both fire and ambulance service are now hindered by these time delays which at times be anywhere up to 20 minutes during rush hour. This concern along with the concern over the lack of street lighting along Chippewa road has been discussed with City of Thunder Bay officials.

CN Train loaded with lumber stuck on the south side of the tracks.

CN Train loaded with lumber stuck on the south side of the tracks.

CN Not Acting Since Opening Bridge to Trains

Fort William First Nation states, “In our discussions with CN, they have made it clear that they must wait for their final engineer’s report to be presented in order to determine what course of action, if any will take place with the restoration of the damage that the bridge sustained. The time frame identified by CN is drawing near and have yet to hear from CN on this matter”.

In a press statement, FWFN states, “This is certainly a matter that goes beyond simply interfering with the convenience of access. There are businesses here in the community, and within the city, both private and commercial, that are seriously being affected. Most urgently, is the safety and well-being of every individual who is forced to use a detour which shares a common expressway as a means to safely get to their destinations”.

Fort William First nation will be hosting an open forum on Monday february 10th from 6:00PM to 9:00PM at the community centre (next to FWFN arena).  All interested business owners who wish to express their concerns over the bridge closure are encouraged to come.

The purpose of the forum will be to gather these concerns in order to prepare a position paper on the economic impact of the closure on both FWFN and city residents.

Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau

Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau


FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – Leaders Ledger - As the Holidays approach and the year comes to an end, I am writing to you the membership of Fort William First Nation; not only as Chief, but also as a community member myself. It brings me great pride and pleasure to wish each and every one of you a joyful holiday and a happy new year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to recap on this last 8 months since being elected into office in April 2013, what we have accomplished, and what new initiatives we are currently working on for the betterment of the membership both on and off reserve. It’s been a very busy time getting everyone up to speed on a new transition of Chief and Council. We have new faces and old, experience and youthfulness.  It’s a terrific blend and I feel that the future is bright for Fort William First Nation.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

FWFN Council unanimously passed a resolution to create a new Corporation that will transition Economic Development into self-sustainable entity that will generate a revenue stream for FWFN, meaningful employment and training for our members. The concept will be an impartial professional body governed by policies, procedures and applicable laws to oversee opportunity and provide qualified professional advice in conjunction with FWFN. A training centre of excellence is being developed, and a building complex which FWFN already owns will be utilized to provide training, not only in Construction and Heavy Equipment, but many diverse areas of trades and skills development.

This summer we completed majority of our roads project which also employed over 40 band members and employees of those included women, men, grandmothers, grandfather and young people, without their dedication and hard work this would not have been possible.

The Mission Road and ditching will be completed in spring of 2014.  Once we have the final cost a financial report will be completed and presented to the community. The current status of the spring flood is nearing an end and with much anticipation, majority of costs will be covered by AADNC and the Federal Government. We now have a crisis plan and team developed and in place if this were to happen again.

CULTURE AND RECREATION

Integration of tradition and spirituality is integral to cultural growth and realization. With the ongoing  efforts  of  reinvigorating  culture  and  recreation  within  our  community  we  hope  to promote culturally relevant programs, services and beautification as a long term benefit for all our membership and the broader community.
Current initiatives include:

Intertribal Dance

The Intertribal brings the people together. On the left Clyde and Munzeroy share a memory.


The Mountain Pow Wow grounds are now in the construction phase and will be completed in spring of 2014 in time for our traditional activities. We hope to be able to attract more tourism to the area, all while providing the proper security to prevent vandalism and protect what is so sacred to  our  Anishinabeg. An  arbour  with  new buildings, landscaping, and lookout was presented at our first quarterly community meeting which was well received. We hope to become the pride of Northwestern Ontario all while maintaining the traditional aspects that we hold so dearly.

Youth land based and cultural activities, Little NHL, Language program, traditional crafts, drumming and teachings,  youth  drop  in  centre, proposal of various recreation sites to be developed into the spring of 2014, and an early proposal stage of a Youth Centre being developed which will be presented to Chief and Council and community in New Year.

ELDERS ENRICHMENT:

The Elders Centre is finally a go, and after many attempts we have hit the ground running. The engineering phase is being completed to match the current needs of our Grandmothers and Grandfathers. Funding is being allocated and sought out. We hope to break ground in the New Year and with all the support of the Elders and those of us who want to keep our Elders at home and happy, we hope all is satisfactory. We will continue to hold more meetings to ensure that communication is being maintained.

CHILDREN AND YOUTH:

As we look forward into 2014 – 2015, we have to look into the possibility of a new Youth Complex and Daycare. This would allow our young parents to be able to provide a safe and accessible environment close to home to be able to leave their children as they become employed while accommodating many other prospective caregivers who are currently employed within FWFN.

Training, education and skill development is necessary to the fostering of successful responsible youth. The proposed training centre will have a strong emphasis on young people while striving for a better educational streamlined process to keep our Youth in school and ready for the workforce.

ADEQUATE AND SUSTAINABLE HOUSING:

Housing has always been a challenge regardless of where we live, either on or off reserve. Overcrowded homes, inadequate builds, lack of plans, inclusion and resources all contribute the overarching breakdown of a housing regime which as a result costs the First Nation in all aspects. Currently housing is under review and restructuring to better meet the needs and demands of our membership. The program is being “revamped” to accommodate a broader outreach and provide a more inclusive housing program accessible for all members. Identified priorities include on and off reserve membership, Elders, Singles, families, low income, private ownership, and social housing.

We anticipate a new housing program to be launched in spring of 2014.

ADMINISTRATION:

The Administration is a vital function of our First Nation, their combined expertise and experience ensures optimal service and program delivery. As we restructure and organize, it provides us with insight into the administrative process and how we can understand, support and improve collectively to better serve you. Administration has been very active in strategic planning, budgeting, reviewing department goals, objectives, policies and processes. With the new transition, Administration has adapted very well keeping community priority as they plan moving forward. Communication has increased, along with enhanced reporting mechanisms that have been implemented to keep community informed.

In the fall of 2013, each department developed budgets and workplans supported by Chief and Council and presented to the community at our first quarterly band meeting. These documents can be viewed and accessed on the FWFN website.

CHIEF AND COUNCIL:

As your elected representatives we are committed to you; with the growing membership, business, and community needs, we want to be as effective and accessible as possible. Since being elected into office in April 2013, we have increased our meeting from 2 to 4 council meetings monthly to accommodate community needs, reporting, business and presentations. Our website has been entirely redone and will continue to be updated frequently, as stated earlier we now post our minutes on the website along with financial audits, we now host quarterly band membership meetings which are also livestreamed to provide access to those who cannot attend in person, in the new year we will review a new council policy and structure, portfolios and reporting requirements along with Chief and Council budget, we will begin comprehensive community planning in the new year which will representative of FWFN vision and long term goals. This will begin the mapping for the future, this will ensure continuity of your community mandate beyond this term of office. Our goal is to build upon our community at the grassroots level, empowering our members to realize their own potential lending to a successful community that grows and works together.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT:

FWFN Days is an ongoing success, with this year being a record turnout. Over a couple days the event provides a community festival of traditional games and music as well as those that enjoy the more modern way of life. It turned out to be a success and we had positive feedback as a result. Events like this promote community togetherness within a healthy environment.

Our financial audit is complete and a meeting date will be provided shortly. This meeting will be solely about finances, and another General Community Meeting will be held shortly after the holidays to give the community members an opportunity to provide feedback. We are looking for more participation and input. It will be streamed online and we hope all technical issues are ironed out.

Our Council minutes are now posted on the website at www.fwfn.com with current audit and previous to be posted in the coming weeks which will enable you the membership to be aware of decision making and current state of your community. Transparency doesn’t happen overnight, and we feel we have provided a lot of information in such a short time, however we are always working on ways to improve. This will mark the first time that the membership will be able to access the information online.

I have been very active in pursuing agreements with various organizations and governments. Recently we signed memorandum of understanding with Confederation College. This will now help us pursue our vision of having our members trained and ready for the upcoming mining boom, as well as a declaration recognizing our Treaty and traditional lands our fellow friends of Thunder Bay across the river occupy. We need to provide our Members with meaningful and long term employment which will enhance quality of life and promote a decent way of life.

LANDCLAIMS:

As our final land claims near an end, we recently accepted an offer from Canada of 7.1 Million dollars, we will be providing the membership with the information and will be holding a community referendum vote as follow up for next steps.

Early in the New Year, we will begin consultation of the boundary trust. We hope to roll this process into our comprehensive community planning which will give our membership local and abroad the opportunity to realize a vision of hope and prosperity now and in the future. How do you want to invest in your future and what will it take to get there?

Your patience has been greatly appreciated during this new transition; we have a progressive community agenda. As we embark on change, we also realize the need to manage that change and expectations with a reasonable delivery. Through community planning, goal mapping and realistic implementation strategy, it can and will become a reality. We have a professional dynamic administrative team, and a dedicated Chief and Council. Together with community champions we can bring our First Nation forward in a meaningful and inclusive manner. Much of what we strive for will take time; however it’s important we continue to focus on our goals and as a committed team it is  our responsibility  and desire to facilitate opportunities for you the members to be part of the decision making process.

With that I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I am proud and humbled to serve you as the elected Chief of Fort William First Nation.

Chi Miigwetch,

Chief Georjann Morriseau

Long lines of cars and trucks filling up on the Fort William First Nation K&A Gas Bar

Long lines of cars and trucks filling up on the Fort William First Nation K&A Gas Bar

THUNDER BAY – News - The James Street Bridge in Thunder Bay is the land link between the Fort William First Nation and the City of Thunder Bay. A fire on the bridge on October 29th has left the only way to travel between the two communities the long way around. The bridge is maintained by the Canadian National Railway.

Within days of the fire, train traffic was restored. Vehicle travel remains months away.

The impact on local residents on Fort William First Nation has been huge.

The James Street Bridge remains closed to train, vehicle and pedestrian traffic

The James Street Bridge remains closed to train, vehicle and pedestrian traffic

The route between the two communities means travel times are far longer. The impact on the First Nation gas bars appears minimal. Today at K&A, once again there were long line-ups for gasoline.

Gas Prices Thunder Bay offers the latest prices for gas in the city.

The longer route however, from Arthur Street along

The road to Fort William First Nation is now far longer. There will likely, as the river freezes be people attempting to seek a shortcut.

The road to Fort William First Nation is now far longer. There will likely, as the river freezes be people attempting to seek a shortcut.

The long line-ups mean a lot of traffic along Chippewa Road, and along Highway 61. The increased traffic should prove the impetus for action.

The provincial and civic governments of Ontario and Thunder Bay, along with Fort William First Nation should be seeking a means of opening the bridge faster, and replacing the bridge with a safer means of transport between the city and the First Nation.

The speed of repairs should be a priority, as well for the Canadian National Railway.

James Murray

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A Beautiful December Day in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY – News – It is a balmy -23C in Thunder Bay this morning. However there is lots to do this morning and through the weekend.

Get down to Victoriaville Centre for the annual Aboriginal Arts Show. It goes on only until 5PM today. 

The Thunder Bay Queen’s are hosting women’s hockey action at the Fort William First Nation. 

Across the city there is skating at the Waterfront Park. Warming up is easy with the fireplace in the centre or the skate shack.

Keep in mind, at -23c that is only -1F so it really is not all that cold — Kidding… it feels chilly, but we are Thunder Bay residents and we are used to it.

Keep Helping!

Over at the Real Canadian Super Store, our friends at Magic 99.9 are working hard to stuff a transit bus with food. Make your way down and help out.

Long before most people were awake.. Thunder Bay City Crews were out working

Long before most people were awake.. Thunder Bay City Crews were out working

In the downtown Fort William district, a big bouquet to the hard working City of Thunder Bay crews who are blasting through the snow banks to make it easier and safer for shoppers. 

There are lots of things to do today. Get out there and do them!

James Murray

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Thunder Bay Fire Rescue

Thunder Bay Fire Rescue

Make your holiday season safer – Fire Chiefs

THUNDER BAY – Keeping your family safe is important. During the holiday season, keeping things safe is especially important because often there is just so much going on. Unattended candles, excited children and pets, and all the joy of the season are fantastic. That is why it is so important to think out a clear and solid fire plan.

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs offer some safety guidelines not only for the holidays, but for year round safety.

Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don't do that.

Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don’t do that.

Can your family get out safely?

Draw a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of every room – especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household. Agree on a meeting place outside your home where every member of the household will gather to wait for the fire department. This allows you to count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is trapped inside the burning building. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be a monitor and have everyone participate. A fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully. Make your exit drill realistic. Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire and practice alternative escape routes. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are filling with smoke. – See more at: http://www.oafc.on.ca/home-escape-plan#sthash.Npm6kzJr.dpuf

Holiday Safety Tips

Day 1

Water fresh trees daily

It’s time to trim that Christmas tree, and if you’re using a real tree, buy a fresh tree and keep the base of the trunk in water at all times. Keep your tree away from any ignition source such as the fireplace, heaters or candles. More Christmas tree and decoration tips below.

 

Day 2

Check all sets of lights before decorating

Before you put those lights on the tree or around the front window check the cords closely. Discard any sets that are frayed or damaged.

 

Day 3

Make sure you have working smoke alarms

With family and friends spending extra time at your home over the holidays, it’s a great time to check your smoke alarms. Replace smoke alarms if they are over 10 years old. Remember that you need working smoke alarms on every storey of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test your alarms to make sure they will alert you and your family if a fire occurs, giving you the precious seconds you need to safely escape. More Information on Smoke Alarms

 

Day 4

Make sure you have working carbon monoxide alarms

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odourless gas that can quickly kill you. Replace any carbon monoxide alarms over seven years old. Installing carbon monoxide alarms in your home will alert you to the presence of this deadly gas. More Information on CO Alarms.

 

Day 5
Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don't do that.

Getting your family out safely means having a plan of action. Most people don’t do that.

Make sure everyone knows how to get out safely if a fire occurs

Develop and practise a home fire escape plan with all members of the household and make sure someone helps young children, older adults or anyone else that may need assistance to evacuate. Once outside, stay outside and call 911 from a cell phone or neighbours house. 

 

Day 6

Use extension cords wisely

People often use extension cords for that extra set of lights or the dancing Santa in the corner. Extension cords should be used only as a temporary connection. Make sure cords never go under rugs as this can cause damage to the cord and cause a fire. More electrical safety tips below.

 

Day 7

Give space heaters space

If you are using space heaters to help take the chill off, remember to keep them at least one metre (3 feet) away from anything that can burn such as curtains, upholstery, or holiday decorations.  More heating and fireplace  safety tips below.

 

Day 8

When you go out, blow out!

Candles can set the perfect mood for a holiday celebration, but remember to always blow out candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Keep lit candles safely away from children and pets and anything that can burn, such as curtains, upholstery, or holiday decorations.  Be candle safe!  More candle safety below.

 

Day 9

Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children

People often keep matches and lighters handy to light holiday candles. But matches and lighters can be deadly in the hands of children. If you smoke, have only one lighter or book of matches and keep them with you at all times.

 

Day 10

Watch what you heat!

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year, which means it’s easy to get distracted from what we are doing. Cooking fires most commonly occur when cooking is left unattended. Always stay in the kitchen when cooking; especially if using oil or high temperatures. If a pot catches fire, carefully slide a tight-fitting lid over the pot to smother the flames and then turn off the heat.  Cooking safety tips.

 

Day 11

Encourage smokers to smoke outside

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires. If you do allow smoking indoors use large, deep ashtrays that can’t be knocked over and make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished.  More holiday entertaining tips below.

 

Day 12

There’s more to responsible drinking than taking a cab home

With all the festive cheer this time of year, keep a close eye on anyone attempting to cook or smoke while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is all too often a common factor in many fatal fires. More holiday entertaining tips below.

 

For more information on the Ontario Fire Marshals’ Initiative on the “12 Days of Holiday Fire Safety” visit their website

- See more at: http://www.oafc.on.ca/holiday-fire-safety#sthash.rEHqYs9q.dpuf

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