‘A terrifying trend’: Firefighters find no working smoke alarms in over 100 homes in Brampton

By

Published August 15, 2023 at 9:17 am

Brampton firefighters and the provincial fire marshal are again urging residents to install and check on smoke detectors in their homes in the wake of several fatal fires.

Brampton Fire and Emergency Services firefighters have been going door-to-door as part of the Home Safe Home Program, educating the public on the importance of having working smoke detectors.

Of the more than 4,000 homes visited so far this year, BFES has done more than 450 smoke and CO alarm inspections and installations, finding more than 25 per cent of homes had no working smoke detectors. And that’s a statistic emergency officials want to see change in the right direction.

The call comes after the death of a mother and her 3-year-old child following a house fire on June 2 in Brampton.

When firefighters arrived at the scene on Jade Cres. they found one person outside and two more trapped inside the house. And although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Fire Marshal Jon Pegg said there were no smoke alarms installed on the first floor or the basement level, where the family resided.

There were smoke alarms on both the second and third stories of the home, which have been sent for testing by investigators, and Pegg said it could take months to determine what happened in the “tragic” blaze.

And in March 2022, a young family of five died following a blaze on Conestoga Dr. in Brampton. The Ontario Fire Marshal found no working smoke alarms inside the home following the fire.

Pegg said there were 133 fire fatalities across the province in 2022 – a new 20-year record.

“The terrifying trend of no working smoke alarms continues in many fires we are seeing across Ontario, which is very concerning because we know they save lives,” Pegg told reporters following the fire in June.

“People don’t realize how little time they have to safely escape a fire. Fire and smoke spread so quickly that a fire can become fatal in less than one minute. Literally, every second counts and only working smoke alarms will alert you to a fire.”

Brampton Fire Chief Bill Boyes echoed those comments, saying the message around smoke alarm safety is still falling on deaf ears.

“Working smoke alarms save lives – it is such a simple concept, but it is so difficult for us to seemingly get across in our communities,” Boyes said, saying firefighters continue to see home after home without working smoke alarms.

“We need to do something different,” he said, urging residents to check their alarms regularly.

Here are five tips from BFES to make sure your smoke alarms are in working order, and could help save a life:

  • Replace batteries regularly. Change your batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
  • If you think your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, replace it. Smoke alarms don’t last forever. Check the manufacturer’s date to find out when they expire.
  • Clean your smoke alarms regularly. Excessive dust can affect the alarm. Vacuum all alarms every six months and test your alarms when finished.
  • Plan your escape. Make sure that everyone in your household is aware of the alarms, their sound and what to do next. Create an escape plan and practice it with the entire household.
  • Renting a property? Have a conversation with your landlord about fire safety and your responsibilities.

For more information on the BFES Home Safe Home program and safety tips click here.

INsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising