VICTORIA - A smoke alarm campaign launched just two months ago aimed at ensuring every home in B.C. has working smoke alarms is quickly building momentum as supporters, notably Kidde Canada and Black Press, have come on board with contributions totalling $425,000.
Kidde Canada is donating 5,000 smoke alarms, with a total retail value of $75,000, to support the goal of the campaign - to have functioning smoke alarms in every household in B.C.
These 5,000 smoke alarms will be distributed among vulnerable populations in the province, including to First Nations homes. Partners will work together on developing a distribution plan that will maximize the protection offered by smoke alarms to homes identified as most at risk.
Research has found that the province's most vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly, face the highest risk of dying in a residential fire.
Black Press, based in Victoria, is adding more reach to the safety campaign with a $350,000 strategic, multimedia investment to raise awareness among its readers about the importance of having working smoke alarms in their homes.
Research done by Surrey Fire Services, in partnership with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), shows that almost 70 per cent of houses that caught fire in B.C. did not have functioning smoke alarms. The research predicts that working smoke alarms could reduce annual fire deaths by as much as 32 per cent.
Originally launched in Surrey on March 22 with Justice Minister and Attorney General Shirley Bond, Minister of Social Development Stephanie Cadieux and Chief Len Garis, president of the Fire Chiefs' Association of B.C./Surrey Fire Chief, the campaign has attracted partners including B.C.'s Office of the Fire Commissioner, the Fire Chiefs' Association of B.C., the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Insurance Brokers' Association of B.C., the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the City of Surrey.
Partners have a series of activities planned to create a sustainable smoke alarm movement, including:
- This summer, Bond and Cadieux will lead a meeting with major organizations and businesses from B.C. to discuss smoke-alarm issues and work toward further achieving the objectives of the campaign.
- The Fire Chiefs' Association of BC and the Office of the Fire Commissioner will lead a steering committee of stakeholders on the local, provincial and national level, with a focus on the Three E's of Injury Prevention - education, environment and enforcement.
- A national injury reduction forum to be held Oct. 12, 2012, hosted by Surrey Fire Service with the Canadian Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.
- Proclaiming Oct. 12, 2012 Smoke Alarm Awareness Day in B.C.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"Since we kicked off the smoke alarm campaign in March with a call for action, we have picked up support from generous new partners. The contributions made by Kidde and Black Press will go a long way toward reducing fire-related deaths, injuries and property damage in B.C."
"I'd like to thank them for their generosity and leadership, and I challenge other companies and groups to explore innovative ways to get involved and make a difference in their communities."
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Social Development -
"Firefighters see firsthand how house fires damage and destroy lives. It's encouraging to see community and business leaders partnering with firefighters to educate people and communities about fire safety."
Len Garis, president, Fire Chiefs' Association of B.C./City of Surrey Fire Chief -
"We've embarked on these smoke alarm campaigns before. There is no quick fix. Community safety will only improve with sustained, collaborative, consistent effort. This movement has to continue forever."
Carol Heller, vice-president, Kidde Canada -
"As Canada's number-one smoke and carbon monoxide alarm company, Kidde is very proud to support this ground-breaking program in British Columbia with our largest-ever donation of 5,000 smoke alarms."
"It is our sincere hope this donation helps kick-start the campaign by getting protection into B.C. homes fast, whether the alarm is the first ever installed or is one that is replacing an old alarm that has passed its lifespan of 10 years."
"We know that having working smoke alarms doubles a family's chances of escaping a fire, so we wanted to do something on a grand scale to match B.C.'s leadership."
Candy Hodson, senior vice-president, Black Press -
"Black Press readily supports a co-ordinated and multi-faceted approach to ensure every home in British Columbia has a functioning smoke alarm."
Leveraging our unparalleled reach of 1.2 million homes in B.C. with our community newspapers and over one million unique visitors to our websites, Black Press is committing resources to create widespread awareness about the importance of working smoke alarms."
- Data from the Office of the Fire Commissioner shows that in 11,000 residential fires in B.C. from 2006 to 2011, nearly 70 per cent of the fire scenes examined either had no smoke alarm or a smoke alarm that was not working.
- According to the UFV study, the risk of fatality from residential structure fires is greater for households with young children, older adults or people with disabilities; rental units; and households in low-income areas, in rural communities and on First Nations reserves.
- The UFV study extrapolates that 69 deaths across Canada could be prevented each year if all Canadian homes had working smoke alarms.
- The UFV study can be found at: http://www.ufv.ca/Assets/CCJR/Reports+and+Publications/Smoke_Alarms_Work$!2c_But_not_Forever.pdf
Further details about the campaign will be publicized as it rolls out during 2012. Information about the campaign will be available at: www.fcabc.ca
Ministry of Justice
Government Communications and Public Engagement