(Black Press file photo)

Safety

Surrey fire chief says free smoke alarm program cut residential fire deaths in half

HomeSafe program allows firefighters to install free smoke alarms and do home safety inspections

Surrey’s fire chief says the number of people dying in house fires has dropped 46 per cent since the inception of its HomeSafe program, which provides free smoke alarms and home safety inspections to residents.

Prior to the program launching in 2007, Chief Len Garis reports an average of 40 people were dying in house fires per year (from 2000 to 2006).

From 2007 to 2018, that average decreased to 20.

House fires also dropped by 53 per cent between 2007 and 2018, from 210 to 160.

Garis noted the drop in fires is despite “regional and provincial trends that show increasing fire rates.”

READ ALSO: Surrey firefighters remind public to check smoke alarms after duplex fire

homelessphoto

(Graphic: surrey.ca)

The initiative resulted in a a 104 per cent increase in working fire alarms since the program’s launch, according to a March 4 progress report Garis wrote to Surrey’s Public Safety Committee.

According to the fire department, a working smoke alarm increases one’s chance of surviving a house fire by 74 per cent.

Garis notes HomeSafe is a “proactive, evidence-based fire prevention program” that connects local fire hotspots with social data linkages identified in a 2007 University of the Fraser Valley study to “target neighbourhoods with the greatest risk of fire and highest concentrations of high-risk residents.”

“Demographic data was extracted from Statistics Canada Census Survey and overlaid on a map of previous incidents of fires occurring in single dwelling residences,” Garis added. “Firefighters were given addresses within their areas to go door-do door distributing information on packages on fire safety,” in addition to offering the free smoke alarms and inspections.

homelessphoto

(Graphic: surrey.ca)

Garis also wrote that firefighters continue to check the status of smoke alarms during calls for service, and install smoke or CO alarms if necessary. They also continue to carry out scheduled HomeSafe visits through community requests.

“Firefighters have also been trained to observe signs of human trafficking and elder abuse since they are well positioned within the community,” he noted. “In this way, the new firefighter/volunteer delivery model of the HomeSafe Program has enabled the Surrey Fire Service to amplify risk reduction efforts in the vulnerable sector of the community.”

Visit surrey.ca/city-services/4640.aspx to learn more about the program and request a free smoke alarm or HomeSafe inspection.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Influx of cross-border visitors to Peace Arch Park sparks concern COVID-19 could spike

Police, parks officials say patrols, education and signage have all been increased

North Delta crime beat, week of May 17

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

COLUMN: For real leadership amid crisis, look west of Scott Road

Delta council, under direction of Mayor George Harvie, defines leadership during pandemic

UPDATE: Funding announced for pair of North Delta salmon conservation projects

Grants for Cougar Creek-related works by Burns Bog Conservation Society, Cougar Creek Streamkeepers

Delta playgrounds, basketball hoops, reopening June 1

Skate and bike parks in the city were reopened last week

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Importance of accurate, ethical reporting more critical than ever

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Suspected ‘murder hornet’ leaves Langley man on edge after finding insect in bedroom

The extra-large invasive insect had been first discovered in Brookswood on Thursday, May 28

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

Most Read