Brampton Guardian: ‘Extremely important’: City of Brampton insists working smoke alarms save lives
Posted September 13, 2023
City says there have been fires where working smoke alarms were not present and fatalities occurred
The City of Brampton says having a working smoke alarm in the home is “extremely important” as it can give enough warning time for occupants to escape the dangers of a potential fire.
In an email, the city said when responding to fires in Brampton, there have been incidents where a working smoke alarm was not present at the scene of the fire and fatalities have occurred.
“The absence of smoke alarms does not increase fire-related incidents, but they provide an early warning sign during fire incidents so people can evacuate early,” the email reads.
The city insists having a working alarm saves lives and reminds residents they must, by law, have at least one active alarm on each storey of their home and outside all sleeping areas.
“In the event of a fire, you may have less than 60 seconds to safely escape danger. This is why it is important for residents to learn more about smoke alarms, fire safety and home escape planning,” the city added.
According to the city, Brampton Fire and Emergency Services has visited 5,899 homes in 2023, in comparison to 2,330 homes in 2022. So far in 2023, Brampton Fire gained access and conducted 1,021 inspections, and of the homes inspected, 686 (67 per cent) were compliant. The city said the fire service has installed 310 smoke alarms, 227 carbon monoxide alarms and 11 batteries this year.
These home visits were part of Brampton Fire’s Home Safe Home program to inspect residences for fire safety, including smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, the city added.
Sean Driscoll, public relations officer for the Office of the Fire Marshal, said of the fires that were investigated between 2012 and 2021, only 35 per cent of homes where a death occurred following a fire had a working smoke alarm that was operational at the time of the fire.
“Ensuring you have a working smoke alarm on every storey of your home is not only the law but also the best way to keep yourself and family fire-safe,” Driscoll explained in an email.
“Test your alarms at least once a month, replace batteries at least once a year, and replace any alarm that has passed 10 years of service,” he advised.
Tanya Burkhart is a leader of Peel ACORN, a community and tenant union of low- and moderate-income individuals. She said “there have been several cases where tenants’ lives have been lost or impacted due to complete absence of (smoke alarms) or non-functional smoke alarms.”
Burkhart also said the key reason for landlords not instituting these important safety tools is because of a lack of landlord licensing.
“There is no enforcement on non-compliance,” she explained. “Peel ACORN wants the City of Brampton to make it mandatory for landlords of all unit types (including multi-residential apartment buildings) to follow certain safety rules so that tenants can enjoy healthy, safe and accessible homes.”
The City of Brampton says the main responsible parties in having working alarms are the owners of properties; as well, tenants should notify their landlords if a fire alarm has been disconnected.
To protect against potential fires, the city has the following reminders:
• Every house must have a working smoke alarm on every storey of the home and outside sleeping areas. For added protection, installing an alarm in bedrooms is highly recommended.
• Push and hold the test button monthly.
• Change smoke alarm batteries once a year.
In addition, the city also recommends families establish a fire escape plan. Here’s what the plan should entail:
• Make a home escape plan with the entire family.
• Include two ways out of every room.
• Discuss who may need assistance to get out of the home.
• Pick a meeting place outside, in front of your home, where everyone will meet, no matter what exit they take.
• Practise your plan twice a year.
For more fire safety tips visit bramptonfire.com.
Article by Qiam Noori for the Brampton Guardian