2013SmokeDetectorProgramAs of Wednesday, May 29th, London Firefighters will be canvassing homes throughout London to determine if everyone is fully protected by working smoke alarms. They will also be educating Londoners about the need for having a fire escape plan and assisting them to do an assessment of their residences to ensure they are “fire safe”. Early detection of fire is crucial, but prevention is even more so.

Smoke alarm legislation in Ontario requires alarms on every storey of a home and near every sleeping area. The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal points out that most fatal fires occur when people are sleeping, because they have no working smoke alarms to wake them up. Working smoke alarms have been proven to greatly increase your chances of survival by alerting you and your family in the early stages of a fire.

As part of the program, fire crews who find a home unprotected have the discretion to provide a working smoke alarm or fresh batteries. An amnesty from charges will apply to homeowners and tenants. However the fire department is not ruling out the possibility of charging negligent landlords who fail to provide and maintain working smoke alarms as dictated by law. The penalties under the Ontario Fire Code range from a $235 fine to a potential court conviction of up to $50,000 and 1 year in jail for individuals and $100,000 and 1 year in jail for corporations.

“The London Fire Department has enhanced and expanded this program following successful trial projects over the past 3 years and several smoke alarm blitzes conducted in partnership with the London Home Builders’ Renovation Council. Those efforts demonstrated the need for heightened awareness about the importance of working smoke alarms, escape plans and fire safety checks”, said Deputy Fire Chief Brian George. “During the Home Fire Safety Check Program, firefighters will provide fire safety literature, assist with a fire safety check, and answer questions regarding fire prevention and fire protection in London. Technical questions regarding Fire Code issues will be referred to the Fire Prevention Division for follow-up.”

Deputy Chief George adds, “There is no doubt that working smoke alarms save lives. However, the best strategy is to take action and eliminate hazards such as unattended cooking and overloaded electrical outlets that might cause a fire in the first place.”

via City of London Fire Department