B.C.'s campaign to see a working smoke alarm in every home grew again today, as the total number of free units available to vulnerable families rose by 4,000.
Super Save Group has joined the campaign, making the additional Kidde alarms - valued at $145,000 - available for distribution to seniors throughout the province. Recent research by Surrey fire chief Len Garis, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of BC, shows seniors make up nearly one-third of all B.C. fire victims, even though they account for just 15 per cent of the province's population.
Today's announcement took place in Vancouver, in recognition of the rapid growth of the local senior population. A recent United Way Lower Mainland report indicates Metro Vancouver's senior population grew 60 per cent to 312,895 over the decade ending in 2011.
In March 2012, Justice Minister and Attorney General Shirley Bond and Garis launched a provincewide awareness campaign to save lives by having a working smoke alarm in every B.C. household. New partners continue to get involved, with fire personnel and local governments in more than 60 communities supporting the effort, backed by awareness-building and donations by various media, business partners and professional organizations.
Examples of partners' work in support of the smoke alarm campaign include:
- Last year, smoke alarm manufacturer Kidde Canada donated 5,000 units for distribution to those whom research has shown are at greater risk of fatality from residential fires. This includes households in low-income areas, in rural communities and on First Nations reserves.
- B.C.'s 93 food banks committed to join forces with local fire services to distribute the free alarms to interested individuals and families whose homes lack a working smoke alarm.
- Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada added 2,500 more free units specifically for on-reserve First Nation families.
- In Kitimat, firefighters partnered with a local pizzeria one night last July, delivering pizza to some customers by fire truck. Customers who had a working smoke alarm got their pizza free. Others paid for their pizza but got a new smoke alarm installed at no cost.
- In November, Shaw Cable donated $90,000 worth of air time across 16 TV stations to run a campaign message from the Fire Chiefs' Association of B.C.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"Our goal of a working smoke alarm in every B.C. home keeps gaining momentum. Super Save's generous offer will help us reach our target more quickly, and in a way that helps some of the people who are most vulnerable to fatality in a fire at home. I'd like to thank all of our partners - communities, corporations, organizations, and of course Len Garis for his tireless efforts in this important campaign to save lives."
Len Garis, president, Fire Chiefs' Association of BC / City of Surrey fire chief -
"The driving force behind this campaign is recognizing how common it has been for households in B.C. and across Canada to lack functioning smoke alarms, and how that translates into dozens of preventable deaths every year in the very places where our families should feel most safe. The support we continue to receive in working to tackle this important safety issue is just phenomenal. Our focus has been on permanent, sustainable solutions for everyone, and I believe we're making real progress toward our goal."
Michael McKnight, president and CEO, United Way of the Lower Mainland -
"United Way knows that many seniors prefer to live in their own homes among their friends, families and neighbours for as long as they can. We help them to stay independent and connected. We applaud this initiative, which will help them stay safe in their own homes."
- Data from the Office of the Fire Commissioner shows that among 11,000 residential fires throughout B.C. between 2006 and 2011, nearly 70 per cent of the fire scenes examined either had no smoke alarm or a smoke alarm that was not working.
- Research predicts working smoke alarms could reduce fire deaths by as much as 32 per cent and save 76 lives across Canada each year.
- Research also shows a greater risk of fire-related fatalities for households with young children, older adults or people with disabilities, as well as people who live in rental units, households in low-income areas, rural communities and First Nations reserves.
- Other smoke alarm campaign partners include Black Press, the Fire Chiefs' Association of BC, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Insurance Brokers' Association of BC and the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.
To view the public service message, go to: www.workingsmokealarms.ca
Information about the smoke alarm campaign is at: www.fcabc.ca
Ministry of Justice
Government Communications and Public Engagement