(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

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP, firefighters support Cloverdale boy’s lonely lemonade stand

Parker, 7, had few takers until Surrey first responders heard his call

Surrey Board of Trade fears SkyTrain expansion will impede other transit needs

‘We need transit improvements in all of Surrey,’ Anita Huberman says

Public hearing set for two Surrey modular housing projects for homeless

Surrey council set to vote Monday on projects in Guildford, Whalley

North Delta Secondary teacher up for B.C. education award

Prabhjot Grewal is up for a Premier’s Award for Excellence in Education in the Outstanding New Teacher category

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Former Fernie Ghostrider re-signs with Vancouver Canucks

Josh Teves has signed a two-year contract with the NHL team

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

Injured fawn at B.C. vet will be euthanized Friday night unless claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer is currently being treated at West Kelowna’s Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

HISTORY: Surrey hoedowns and ‘moonlight dances’ were the place to be

Dancing, revelry united community members of all ages

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read