Today (Sept. 28) marks the first Test Your Smoke Alarm Day in Ontario.
Haliburton County’s firefighters are out in the community all day, handing out information and answering questions about smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. In the evening, they’ll be going door to door with more fire safety tips, offering to test alarms for residents.
“We’re just trying to spread that message, ‘Saved by the Beep, test your smoke alarms’,” says Minden Hill Fire Chief Shain Duda. “It’s just before Fire Prevention Week, time changes are coming soon, and you’re going to have to change your smoke alarm batteries.”
Duda says the yearly campaign comes from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, after 2022 saw the highest number of fire fatalities in two decades. He says 133 people lost their lives to fires last year, many of them due to a lack of working smoke alarms.
He adds that he’s impressed with how the association is getting that message out there.
“This reminds me of back in the day, to That 70s Show or Saved By the Bell,” says Duda. “It’s got the same colours, it’s got fun diagrams, it just draws your eyes to it. It’s something that is great for the public, because it’s a simple message. I think the association has done a great job to get that message out.”
If you miss the firefighters in the community or at your door on Sept. 28, you can call your local fire department any time for information about smoke alarms.
“The more people [that are] aware, I think the safer people are. That they’re going to understand that not only do they require them as part of the fire and building code, but it also saves lives,” says Duda. “That beep will save lives, and it’s something that’s an early warning detection in case there is an emergency in your home. And I feel this is something very important that we’ve got to get out to the public.”