While smoke detectors have always been essential, the prevalence of modern building materials has underscored their importance.
“In the 1960s, early 1970s, our homes were mostly organic – solid wood, wool (among other materials),” said Chief Brett Mikkelsen of the Sydney Volunteer Fire Department. “Everything we have in our house is now plastic. They are all polymers and when heated they break down and feed on each other in rapid succession. Where you might have had a few minutes to get out of a fire before, it’s just a matter of seconds. So if you can’t hear a smoke detector and immediately get out of bed and have a plan to get out and get your loved ones out, you just don’t have the time. It is therefore a vital safety device.
It is in this context that Sidney offers a long-standing program, where members of the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department will visit the homes of residents, whether tenants or owners, to inspect installed smoke detectors and change the batteries as long as they are battery powered. powered.
“It’s all part of being proactive,” Mikkelsen said. “If we can get people out of a fire before we show up to one, that’s a victory for us, especially with our cohort of residents. A lot of times we don’t want people in their 70s or 80s to get on a stepladder to change the batteries, ”he said. “It just leads to another call for us. “
As the service marks such occasions as Fire Prevention Week, October 3-8, and the clocks change in the spring and fall to remind residents of the importance of smoke detectors, the service receives a fairly consistent number of requests under the program. . In any given year, the ministry will process between 250 and 300 requests.
“What we are also starting to do now, if people agree, we will also do a home fire safety inspection,” he said. “We will examine your house and make sure there is no problem. Are your curtains in contact with your baseboard heaters? If you have young children, are the pot handles turned inward, so there is no risk of burns, if they take them out – all of those types of things to reduce the risk proactively. We are happy to do that as well and we are developing a control sheet. (We) will also be encouraging people, while we are at it, to sign up for Saanich Peninsula Alert for emergency management. “
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Saanich Peninsula Sidney