The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board and the Kelowna Fire Department are joining forces to bring a smoke alarm safety awareness campaign to homeowners.
“We are delighted to announce OMREB’s partnership with the Kelowna Fire Department to launch a collaborative public safety effort between realtors, firefighters and homeowners,” said OMREB president Karen Singbeil, noting that March is Smoke Alarm Awareness Month.
“Working to promote the importance of functioning smoke alarms to help keep families safe in case of fire in their homes is a worthwhile community endeavour.”
With support from a number of provincial and local agencies, the B.C. Fire Chiefs ’Association has launched a smoke alarm campaign with the goal to reduce the loss of life due to fire.
Many fire departments across the province have initiated various programs throughout the year to get this message out – engaging a number of industries with the hope that the initiative eventually becomes a provincial level program.
”The Kelowna Fire Department is grateful to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board and its membership for partnering with us and assisting fire safety personnel in educating the public about smoke alarms,” said Kelowna’s Deputy Fire Chief, Thomas Doherty.
“With 700 realtors helping to get the word out in Kelowna, this local program will help prevent deaths and reduce annual fatalities from residential structural fires in the city.”
The purpose of the Kelowna campaign is to get home owners thinking and talking about smoke alarms.
Supplied by the fire department, a safety brochure titled ”How to Stay Safe at Home” has been distributed to Kelowna real estate offices to be included with listing documents and left with home sellers as a community service in March.
To download a copy, visit: http://www.omreb.com/files/SmokeAlarmBrochure.pdf
During the month of March, OMREB and the Kelowna Fire Department are also running a full-page colour ad on the back cover of the Central Okanagan editions of OMREB’s MLS Real Estate Review publication to remind homeowners to make sure all smoke alarms are working properly and have fresh batteries.
While the pilot campaign focuses on Kelowna, the partners hope that it can expand to West Kelowna and other communities in the Central Okanagan through partnerships with their local fire departments, and eventually roll out board-wide to include the North Okanagan and Shuswap for the full support and participation of OMREB’s 1,000 member realtors.
Spring Forward Sunday
With the daylight savings time change happening at 2:00 a.m. this Sunday, March 10, the Kelowna Fire Department wants to remind residents that this is a good time to change the batteries in all of their home’s smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and to ensure they are functioning.
“To stay safe, replacing batteries in all smoke alarms should be done at least once a year, and changing them while updating the time on all of your clocks serves as a great reminder,” said Doherty. “In addition, smoke alarms should be tested once a month, and if an alarm ‘chirps’ warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away. Also check the date of manufacture. If your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, it should be replaced.”
Smoke Alarm Facts
Research by the University of Fraser Valley revealed that almost 70 per cent of houses that caught fire in British Columbia did not have a functioning smoke alarm. Working smoke alarms increase your likelihood of surviving a fire by 74 per cent.
A recent three-year campaign that reached more than 30,000 of the highest fire-risk addresses in the City of Surrey demonstrated the following:
· Rates of fires per 1,000 dwellings reduced in the visited addresses by over 60 per cent relative to controls
· Smoke alarm activation in the event of a fire increased by almost 170 per cent
· The frequency at which fires were contained to the object of origin increased by over 250 per cent
· The average dollar loss incurred per fire reduced by over 40 per cent
“Overall, as a result of this program, there were fewer residential structure fires, and those that did occur were smaller and resulted in lower dollar loss,” Doherty explained. “In addition, residents were alerted more often by functioning smoke alarms.”
Smoke Alarm Tips
Install one smoke alarm per floor and outside sleeping areas in your home, or inside each bedroom if your loved ones sleep with their doors closed. The new 2012 B.C. Building Code requires a smoke alarm be installed in each bedroom as well for any new construction.
Never take down an alarm or remove batteries to silence a nuisance alarm caused by cooking or shower steam.
Install smoke alarms with a “hush” button. Simply push the button to stay safe while you clear the air.