Hot Summer’s Night campaign gets underway

Check your smoke alarms every six months.

Check your smoke alarms every six months.

The local fire department is building on its successful smoke alarm campaign from last year and will be out more often in 2011.

According to Mission Fire/Rescue Service Asst. Chief Larry Watkinson, starting in June, firefighters will be visiting local homes on weekends, in addition to weeknights.

The goal, he said, is to see every home in the district protected by a working smoke alarm. If there isn’t one in the home, firefighters will install a unit, leave one for the homeowner to place, or provide new batteries, free of charge. Members will also leave home fire safety check sheets.

In its inaugural year, 209 homes were inspected, and of those, seven per cent did not have a working alarm, and department personnel either installed or left a unit.

In 26 per cent, smoke alarms were present, and four per cent had dead batteries that firefighters replaced.

The Hot Summer’s Night campaign will run July 5 and Aug. 23. The full-time firefighters will conduct inspections during the day on weekends, while the on-call complement will undertake weeknight evening visits, similar to last year.

An impetus for this action, said Watkinson, was last year’s changes to the B.C. Fire Code legislation which now states all residential buildings must have working and installed smoke detectors.

The assistant chief wants residents to know this isn’t an enforcement-style endeavour, merely a safety tool.

Smoke alarms are a key early warning device, and when combined with family escape plans and general fire safety knowledge, people are much more likely to be safer if a fire ever breaks out, he continued.

Smoke alarms are a sound you can save lives with, Watkinson added.