© Elizabeth MacDonald photo
Placentia Mayor Bill Hogan signed a declaration designating Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13 at the most recent meeting of the Placentia town council. With him are members of the Placentia Volunteer Fire Department, including Fire Chief Wayne Power (far left).
Fire Prevention Week was in full force last week as fire departments and the provincial government were reminding people of the dangers of fire and how they can better prevent loss of lives and property through knowledge and awareness.
In Placentia, the theme for Fire Prevention Week was, “Have Two Ways Out.” The fire department visited schools throughout the area to speak to young people about how they could better increase their safety through the use of fire alarms, smoke alarms, and ensuring they have two ways planned to get out of their homes in the event of a fire.
“I call upon the citizens of Placentia to participate in fire prevention activities at home, work and school… and for public agencies to actively participate in an effort to provide effective fire prevention programs… which will instill… those fire safety practices which will reduce the loss of life and property damage caused by fire,” Mayor Hogan proclaimed.
The provincial government launched the “Alarmed and Ready Challenge” last week during Fire Prevention Week, which will allow community fire department go door-to-door to check existing home smoke alarms and give out free smoke alarms and batteries where needed.
“We are pleased to join forces with our community partners to make working smoke alarms a high priority,” said Kevin O’Brien, Municipal Affairs minister and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services. “We all need to take an interest in our own safety. The provincial government’s new Fire Protection Services Act came into effect this summer, and with it, a mandatory requirement for working smoke alarms on every level of the home and in each sleeping area. It’s our hope this campaign will educate residents and improve fire safety throughout the province.”
Funding for this initiative has come from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
“The Alarmed and Ready Challenge has a simple message: smoke alarms save lives,” said Bill Adams, Atlantic vice president with IBC. “IBC is proud to work with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on this initiative. This program will help ensure everyone has working smoke alarms in their home, as they can give occupants the precious seconds needed to escape a fire emergency.”
The province encouraged fire departments to go door-to-door with the challenge.
“Smoke alarms are the first line of defense in residential home fires and provide advanced notice to get out safely,” said Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services president Vince MacKenzie. “We are encouraging fire departments to get involved in the Alarmed and Ready Challenge and are appreciative of the opportunity to partner with the provincial government and IBC. This program will give our firefighters important tools to advance public education on the ground in our communities.”
There have been more than 60 fire-related deaths in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2000. Minister O’Brien indicated the number of unnecessary tragedies is simply too high.
“Smoke alarms save lives,” noted Minister O’Brien. “The Provincial Government, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, and the Provincial Fire Services Association want to ensure the continued safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and are committed to working together with our community fire departments to protect residents and their families.”
For more information on the challenge visit the IBC website at www.getintheknow.ibc.ca/Alarmedandready