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B.C. smoke alarm initiative gets another boost

March 28, 2013 – Fire chiefs in British Columbia have expanded their fire-prevention program with a donation of 4,000 smoke alarms. The donation by Super Save Group, a consortium of British Columbia companies that range from shredding services to propane distribution, targets seniors.

March 28, 2013
By Olivia D'Orazio

March 28, 2013 – Fire chiefs in British Columbia have expanded their fire-prevention program with a donation of 4,000 smoke alarms. The donation by Super Save Group, a consortium of British Columbia companies that range from shredding services to propane distribution, targets seniors.

According to Len Garis, the fire chief in Surrey and president of the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia (FCABC), almost one-third of fire victims in British Columbia are seniors, although they account for just 15 per cent of the population.

“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,” Garis explained in a press release.

“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.”

The FCABC launched the program a year ago, aiming to have a smoke alarm in every home in the province. Kidde Canada donated 5,000 alarms for distribution to vulnerable citizens last year, including seniors, the disabled, and those in low-income neighbourhoods. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada donated an addition 2,500 alarms, specifically for families living on First Nation reserves.

The province’s 93 food banks also worked with local fire departments: firefighters distributed free smoke alarms to food bank clients, teaching them about the proper installation and maintenance of the alarms.

Meanwhile, in July, the Pizzarama Pizzaria in Kitimat, B.C., delivered its pizzas by fire truck. Clients who had a working smoke alarm in their home received their pizza free of charge. Those who did not had to pay for the pizza, but received a new alarm installed at no cost.

In November, Shaw Cable donated $90,000 worth of air time across 16 TV stations so that the FCABC could run a message about the campaign, informing the viewers of the importance of working smoke alarms.

For more information on the initiative, visit www.workingsmokealarms.ca