Free smoke alarm drive extended

Most homes have no working detector, seniors most at risk

Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis is also president of the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C.

More smoke alarms are being handed out across B.C. as part of a campaign to reduce preventable deaths from house fires.

It’s being spearheaded by the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. and president and Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis says the free smoke detector giveaway is targeting the elderly, aboriginals and other low-income or vulnerable residents.

“These folks are truly at risk and we have to be very diligent and mindful of that,” said Garis. “Working smoke alarms save lives.”

Research led by Garis with the University of the Fraser Valley found 70 per cent of fires over the past five years happened in homes with no working smoke detector.

He noted seniors make up nearly a third of B.C. residents who die in fires even though they comprise only 15 per cent of the population.

“It’s extremely disturbing,” Garis said of the findings.

The campaign, backed by the provincial and federal governments and corporate donors, has so far pulled together 11,500 smoke alarms that are being distributed by fire departments around the province.

Smoke alarm make Kidde Canada provided the initial 5,000 detectors and deep discounts on future purchases.

The latest contribution came from Super Save Group, whose $20,000 bought another 4,000 Kidde alarms.

Black Press is a campaign partner, donating advertising to promote fire safety. More information on the campaign can be found at www.fcabc.ca.

While many homes have smoke detectors, Garis notes too few people check them regularly.

All smoke detectors should be replaced after 10 years and batteries should be changed annually.

Garis is also pushing the province to find ways to get more sprinkler systems into apartment buildings after a fire at a Langley apartment building killed an 80-year-old resident earlier this year.

Residents of buildings with no sprinkler systems are much more likely to die in a fire.

Garis said a five-year survey found 23.1 deaths per 1,000 fires in unsprinklered buildings in B.C., compared to 1.2 deaths per thousand in sprinklered buildings.

Just Posted

Chilliwack man feeling helpless about puppy stolen while at church

Evidence of neighbour trespassing and accusing him of dog neglect not enough for RCMP

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack man has been found

Chilliwack RCMP is thanking the public for keeping an eye out

UPDATED: Chilliwack councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Most Read