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March 6, 2008
With time change this weekend, change batteries in smoke alarms
  
The tragic fire in Hamilton last weekend reinforces the importance of having working smoke alarms. As clocks are turned ahead this Sunday, Toronto residents are reminded that it is also time to replace the batteries in their smoke alarms.

“The law in Ontario requires that smoke alarms be installed and maintained on every storey of a home and outside all sleeping areas,” said Toronto Fire Chief William Stewart. “This weekend, remember to replace the batteries in every smoke alarm in your home and ensure they all operate properly.”

Many fire deaths occur in homes that do not have working smoke alarms. Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms, combined with a planned and practiced home fire escape plan, provides people with the time and knowledge necessary to escape in the event of a fire.

“Also, once out, stay out. Have a meeting place so you know all family members have escaped the fire,” added Chief Stewart. “It is not uncommon for our fire crews to find a victim who went back into a burning house to look for a family member who escaped through another exit.”

The morning of March 4, smoke alarms activated to alert a family of a fire in their home, located at 147 Vanauley Walk. The warning from the smoke alarms woke the occupants and allowed them the critical time to escape and go to a neighbour’s house to call 9-1-1.

Many home fires start when people are asleep. Instead of waking someone up, smoke from a fire can put people into an even deeper sleep. A working smoke alarm will detect smoke and immediately sound an alert. This early warning increases the chance of survival by providing time to implement escape plans.

Smoke alarms are inexpensive, easy to install and should be tested regularly by pressing the test button. In addition, by gently vacuuming out the unit, a build-up of dust that can activate false alarms or prevent an alarm from detecting the smoke from a fire can be prevented. After changing smoke alarm batteries, test the alarms by pressing the test button.

If a smoke alarm seems overly sensitive, purchase a smoke alarm with a “hush” button feature or consider relocating the smoke alarm. For more information about nuisance alarms, visit http://www.makeitstop.ca.

For more information about fire safety, visit http://www.toronto.ca/fire/prevention/index.htm.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Toronto Fire Services, Media Hotline, 416-338-0763


 

 

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