Smoke Alarm Campaign to save lives in BC

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March 22, 2012

VICTORIA – BC Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond and the President of the
Fire Chiefs’ Association of BC, Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis have launched a smoke alarm
campaign intended to ensure that every home in BC has a working smoke alarm,  part of a broad
initiative to reduce fire?related deaths and injuries.

Research done by Surrey Fire Services, in partnership with the University of the Fraser Valley,
shows that almost 70 per cent of houses that caught fire did not have a functioning smoke
alarm. The research predicts that working smoke alarms could reduce annual fire deaths by as
much as 32 per cent. The research findings also indicate the province’s most vulnerable
populations – such as children and the elderly – face the highest risk of dying in a residential

The new campaign is a sustained, coordinated approach to ensure BC homes have a
functioning smoke alarm. 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

Some components of the campaign are:

  •    National injury reduction forum to be held Oct 12, 2012, hosted by Surrey Fire Service
    with the Canadian Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.
  •   A call to action on behalf of local fire departments to address this issue in their
  •   Developing interagency partnerships to maximize the protection offered by smoke
    alarms to the most disadvantaged members of society
  • Targeting engagement with BC First Nations
  • Working with multi?residential building managers to maximize protection within these
  • Exploring the potential to develop a school based curriculum for fire?prevention
  • Exploring the potential to utilize the insurance act to compel annual testing of smoke
    alarms upon policy renewal
  • Working with federal politicians to create a national smoke alarm day
  • Encourage federal politicians to focus on design changes to smoke alarms to address
    design deficiencies that enable them to be disconnected and also mean they can
    become nonfunctioning without alerting residentsThe campaign is gathering a growing number of supporters, including the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and others.
  • Further details about the campaign will be publicized as it rolls out during 2012. Information about the campaign will be available at

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