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

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

UPDATE: One man airlifted to hospital following incident on Chilliwack River Road

Chilliwack River Road closed off as police investigate; RCMP will not confirm reports of a shooting

Garrison store going to new heights for children’s charity

Save-On Foods employees raising cash for BC Children’s Hospital, by throwing managers from airplane

Tourism Chilliwack brings home industry award of excellence

Sto:lo Welcome Figures carving project outside the Visitor Centre loomed large in the win

UPDATE: Dying days for 25-bed mental health facility on Chilliwack/Abbotsford border

Closure of Mountain View criticized by NDP in opposition but hasn’t reversed Fraser Health decision

B.C’s Indigenous tourism sector takes centre stage in Chilliwack

One-day workshop will look at ways to embue the industry with authenticity

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Uber self-driving crash video calls safety, rules into question

Experts say footage shows that vehicle’s sensors should have spotted pedestrian, initiated braking

Installation complete for Alex Fraser Bridge cable collars

The collars will continue to be operated manually

Greens’ Elizabeth May, NDP’s Kennedy Stewart join B.C. anti-pipeline protest

The two politicians could be arrested for violating a court injunction

B.C. man shot by police in 2017 pleads guilty to string of offences

Kaymen Winter gets two years, opts for trial on two charges related to Salmon Arm car wash shooting

Are you going to turn off the lights for Earth Hour?

BC Hydro report says fewer people in the province are taking part, but feel it’s still important

Marijuana edibles won’t be regulated in 2018

Health Canada says edible regulation is still more than a year away

5 to start your day

A woman takes issue with students’ attempt at a joke, a suspicious package at a tax centre, and more

Fat joke on B.C. school’s sign not appropriate, woman says

Surrey mother says weight issues are no laughing matter

Most Read