Smoke and CO alarms available without cost

Posted on Tuesday January 09, 2018

"NO HOME SHOULD LACK THESE ESSENTIAL ITEMS,” Fire Chief

Smoke/CO Alarms are available without cost.

Gravenhurst, ON - Last week’s news of a deadly fire in Tottenham has local fire officials shaking their heads in sad disbelief. On January 2nd, a fire occurred in a semi-detached home which claimed the life of a 38 year-old woman, injured her husband and son, and destroyed their home. And this past weekend, investigators from the fire marshal’s office confirmed that a lack of working smoke alarms in the home contributed to this tragedy. “There were no working smoke alarms in the unit, which delayed notification to the family, and by the time they were alerted to the fire it was very well developed, making the normal escapes that they had not tenable,” said Jeff Tebby, supervisor with the fire investigation section of the Office of the Fire Marshal.

“This makes this incident doubly tragic,” said Gravenhurst fire chief Larry Brassard. “Smoke alarms have been mandated in Ontario homes for years, and if people can’t afford them, many fire departments will provide them for free”, he added. Mondays news of a fatal fire that claimed four lives in Oshawa underscores how serious home fire safety is in Ontario.

“Here in Gravenhurst, we have a number of benefactors who have, for years, provided us with smoke alarms to give to people in need. And this year, we’ve been fortunate enough to add Carbon Monoxide alarms to our ‘Alarmed for Life’ program, so no one should want for these devices”, said Brassard. “It breaks our heart to hear of tragedy’s such as this and this is why it’s so important to make people aware that there’s help available. Pick-up your phone and call us – we will make sure these devices get into your homes”.

Brassard noted that these alarms are required by law in every home, and while in some cases property owners can face fines for not installing and maintaining them, the emphasis in Gravenhurst remains on education. “We want to make sure everyone, regardless of economic status, is safe in their own homes, and the best way to do that is to make sure these essential devises are installed and maintained properly”.

Brassard noted that landlords are required to install and maintain these devices as well, and while there is less tolerance for landlords to ensure their properties are safe, the same principles of being safe in your home apply to renters. Landlords who repeatedly snub their obligations may find themselves answering to a court. Renters also have an obligation to notify their landlords if their alarms are not operational.

Gravenhurst residents who can’t afford smoke or Carbon Monoxide alarms are asked to call the fire department at 705-687-3414 to arrange for a free home visit, “Or simply drop into one of our stations – we’ll be only too glad to make sure you leave with one of these life savers”.

For more information, please contact the Gravenhurst Fire Department at 705-687-3414.

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