It’s Fire Prevention Week in the province and the Prince George Fire Department outlines the importance of having a working smoke alarm in your home.

According to the BC Office of the Fire Commissioner, 97 fatalities have taken place over the past five years due to a structure fire and in 43% of those cases, there was no working smoke alarm.

Chief Fire Prevention Officer, Marcel Profeit outlined the importance of having one.

“So if your smoke alarm isn’t working whether you’ve taken the batteries out because it’s annoying you or it’s out of date or expired and you don’t have those three minutes to get out, that could mean the difference between life or death.”

Homes are also burning faster due to the materials inside of them leaving an escape time of two minutes or less.

“A lot of things nowadays are made out of hydrocarbon products. A lot of carpets, furniture and the foams in it are basically solid gasoline because once they get going, they throw off a lot more heat so they are going to ignite other objects in your home quicker.”

“A working smoke alarm gives you that time to get out of the building because fires can go to flash over states in over a minutes whereas 20 years ago with the composition of the furniture saw it take over five minutes.”

The top causes of residential fires in the province are cooking equipment, matches and lighters, heating equipment and smoker’s material.

Fire Prevention Week runs until Saturday.

This year’s theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!”