The facts about smoke alarms


In 1987, no less than 277 peo­ple died in fires in one-fam­ily and twofam­ily dwellings across the coun­try, the vast ma­jor­ity of them in homes built be­fore 1980.

In fact, since the to­tal num­ber of homes had grown, this rep­re­sents a drop in fire deaths to 4.5 per 100,000 homes in 1987 from 7.9 in 1980. There are a num­ber of rea­sons for this im­prove­ment in safety but the con­sen­sus is that one ma­jor dif­fer­ence is the ad­vent of in­ex­pen­sive bat­tery-op­er­ated and wired in place smoke alarms.

New homes, which have been re­quired by build­ing codes to have manda­tory wired in smoke alarms since early in the 1980s, are much safer than older dwellings.

1975 -- On­tario homes re­quired to have smoke alarms out­side sleep­ing ar­eas 1980 -- On­tario fire death rate 30.9 per mil­lion pop­u­la­tion. 1990 -- Sta­tis­tics Canada sur­vey re­ports 85% of homes have smoke alarms. 1990 -- On­tario fire death rate 13.9 per mil­lion pop­u­la­tion. 1996 -- Cana­dian Safety Coun­cil sur­vey re­ports 95% of homes in Canada have smoke alarms. 1996 -- On­tario fire death rate 11.5 – down 62% from 1980. 2005 -- On­tario fire death rate 6.8 – down 41% from 1996 March 2006 – smoke alarms re­quired on ev­ery storey of dwellings in On­tario

Fire de­part­ments are asked to re­port on the pres­ence and op­er­a­tion of smoke alarms and sup­pres­sion de­vices in ev­ery struc­ture fire they at­tend.

The fol­low­ing data cov­ers fires that oc­curred be­tween 2012 and 2016 in res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties where a loss oc­curred. Smoke alarms op­er­ated in 44% of these home loss fires. There was no smoke alarm in 17% of home fires. The smoke alarm was present but did not op­er­ate in 15% of home fires.

In the in­ci­dents where there was a smoke alarm, but it did not op­er­ate, 4% did not op­er­ate be­cause they had no bat­tery or no power and 6% did not op­er­ate be­cause they were re­mote or sep­a­rated from the fire.

GOOD CAUSES: Vol­un­teer brigades are ac­tive in the com­mu­nity. For ex­am­ple, the St. An­drews fire sta­tion mem­bers held a boot drive re­cently in aid of Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy Canada.

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