An important reminder ahead of Fire Prevention Week: working smoke alarms save lives.
Fire Prevention Week officially runs from Oct. 4-10, 2015, and it launched today with a smoke alarm demonstration that punctuates the need for working alarms in every bedroom, as about half of residential fire deaths occur between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when residents are asleep.
Fire preparedness activities at fire halls and schools across the province will take place over the next week along with a series of tweets from Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto and a social media campaign delivered through Twitter aimed at providing fire safety tips to all British Columbians.
The awareness week, held across North America, is the longest running public health and safety observance on record and falls on the anniversary of one of North America’s most significant fires: the 1871 Chicago fire. Fire Prevention Week aims to draw public awareness to fire safety and provides an opportunity to review evacuation plans, practice fire drills, test the batteries in fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and ensure fire extinguishers are serviced and functioning.
On average, one British Columbian is injured by fire every 44 hours in the province and the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia research suggests that fatality rates rise 74% when a working smoke alarm is not present. An update to the BC Smoke Alarm movement report initially released in October 2012 titled ‘Smoke Alarms Work, But Not Forever: Revisited’ says total deaths have dropped by nine a year between 2012-14 as a result of present and working smoke alarms.
Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto –
“As the new minister of state for emergency preparedness, I am committed to helping elevate fire prevention awareness and urge all British Columbians to take steps to be safe and protect your home from fire risks. Fire Prevention Week provides all British Columbians with a reminder to review evacuation plans and practice fire drills, test the batteries in fire alarms, and ensure fire extinguishers are serviced.”
MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale, Stephanie Cadieux –
“Present, functioning smoke alarms save lives – but it’s important to remember that smoke alarm functionality deteriorates with time. Something as simple as changing the battery in your smoke alarm could save your life and the lives of your loved ones. So test your alarms monthly, change the battery yearly, and replace your alarms every 10 years.”
Tim Pley, Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia –
"The FCABC is pleased to support Fire Prevention Week. The 2015 theme “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep” reminds us all of the critical need to have working smoke alarms in all homes, and that those alarms be located where they can be heard by occupants who are sleeping. In B.C., as in several other provinces, efforts are underway to increase the presence of working smoke alarms in residential occupancies. Fire Prevention Week provides us all with a reminder to install, maintain and regularly test residential smoke alarms.”
Linda Hepner, mayor, City of Surrey –
“Smoke alarm education and fire prevention campaigns are critical to changing behaviour. I'm proud to say that the smoke alarm initiative which began in Surrey is working, and more importantly, saving lives not only in Surrey but across the province.”
Len Garis, fire chief, City of Surrey –
“Our research confirms that functioning smoke alarms save lives, reduce fire-related injury, reduce the spread of fires, and reduce the damage of fires. That's why I encourage everyone to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones by keeping their smoke alarm in working order. Take the time to test your smoke alarm and ensure the batteries are fresh. If you live in Surrey and you discover that your smoke alarm is not working, call us and we will install one for free.”
- In B.C. the primary source of residential fires is stove top burners, but other top ignition sources include electrical, fireplaces and chimneys, as well as cigarettes.
- Many fires are preventable, yet statistics show that on average, fire kills eight people each week in Canada, with residential fires accounting for 73% of those fatalities.
- Firefighters face challenges every day in the line of duty. It is a strenuous job, both physically and mentally. Take the opportunity to thank those among us that routinely stand up, and stand out, as heroes when disaster strikes. One way to consider thanking local firefighters for efforts is to nominate them for a Medal of Good Citizenship: http://tinyurl.com/o55rqsm
Fire Prevention Week: http://www.firepreventionweek.org
‘Smoke Alarms Work, But Not Forever: Revisited – Successes and Ongoing Challenges from B.C.’s Working Smoke Alarm Campaign’: http://tinyurl.com/pjsl4zm
B.C. Office of the Fire Commissioner: http://www.embc.gov.bc.ca/ofc/
Fire Prevention Canada resource page: http://www.fiprecan.ca/fire-prevention-fact-sheets/