Several fires around Squamish have been a stark reminder of the importance of fire safety for residents.
As the colder and darker months come, the chance of a fire breaking out increases in homes as heating, decorations and candles are used more regularly, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Brandon Higgs, a local registered fire protection technician who recently started his own fire protection service called Higgs Fire Protection Ltd., spoke to The Squamish Chief about several ways residents and business owners can be proactive in their fire safety.
He said an important factor to consider for fire safety is to be prepared with a fire plan: knowing the multiple routes to safely exit a house.
“It really is just having a plan and knowing how to get out,” he said. “With the kids, try to make it kind of fun, right? Trip lights off and crawl out of there.”
Higgs added that seemingly basic things like getting smoke alarms and extinguishers checked and serviced can be often forgotten.
“I get it all the time. ‘Holy, Brandon, it can’t have been a year,’” he said when he checks in on customers. “Time flies, so it’s one of those things you want to get looked at by a professional.”
And speaking of fire extinguishers, Higgs added that having them in a few places throughout a house can be beneficial.
“If you told me you had a three-level house,” he explained. “I’d tell you to put one in your closet of your room, put one under your kitchen sink and put one in your garage.
“Because heaven forbid you go to the top of the stairs and you can’t get down because there’s a fire.”
If someone in Squamish is uncertain about preparing, Higgs said his business offers numerous fire protection services to residential and commercial customers.
“I offer all the fire protection services: fire extinguisher services, emergency light services, fire alarm services, sprinkler services, backflow, fire plans,” said Higgs.
Though Higgs only recently started the business in the last year or so, he’s been a certified fire technician since about 2007. Higgs said starting his own business has been tough in some ways because he’s had to really learn all the aspects that go into managing a successful business.
“You’re the accountant and the technician and the sales guy; you’re doing all these things,” he said. “I was learning the business side of it … I knew a bit of it for sure, but there was a lot to learn.”
But he said he’s getting a lot more fulfillment from working locally.
“I wanted to help my community out a lot more,” he said. “And I’ve been able to help our community and that means something to me.”
For wildfire risks in neighbourhoods and outside the house, check out tips from firesmartbc.ca.
Editor's note: The Squamish Chief is piloting a new business beat based on feedback from readers. We will be covering some brand-new, independent business openings and closings, among other things, as our time and resources allow. To be considered for this pilot project, please email email@example.com.