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Firefighters will visit to help you develop, practise home-escape plan

Central York Fire Services is out and about in Newmarket and Aurora until Aug. 31 to help residents 'stay fire smart and stay safe'
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USED 2019 07 12 CYFS firefighters DK
Central York Fire Services firefighters Jamie Dears (left) and Gord Cook are shown here at an educational visit with summer campers at Terry Fox Public School in July 2019. Debora Kelly/NewmarketToday

You have until the end of this week to request that a Central York Fire Services (CYFS) specialist come to your home to help you test or install a new smoke alarm, thanks to the local service’s Smoke Alarm campaign that runs until Aug. 23.

The broader Stay Fire Smart campaign will find fire crews out in local neighbourhoods in Newmarket and Aurora until Aug. 31 to remind residents it is the law to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their home. Crews can also help families develop and practise a home-escape plan.

"The ultimate goal of our Stay Fire Smart mission is to ensure people are proactive and prepared in case of a fire," Fire Chief Ian Laing said in a statement. "Planning ahead can save seconds and ultimately save lives, and our firefighters are here to give residents the tools to stay fire smart and stay safe." 

Since June, fire crews have gone door-to-door handing out information packages, offering a free home inspection, and educating residents about how to best be prepared in case of a fire.

Firefighters stress the importance of developing and practising a home-escape plan. It’s also important for residents to be aware they should have working smoke alarms on every storey of their home, and outside all sleeping areas. As well, carbon monoxide alarms should be placed outside all sleeping areas.

"Having a plan and practising it is especially important for those who may require additional support," chief fire prevention officer Ryan Schell said. "Residents can always reach out and contact the fire department for any assistance they may need when it comes to installing smoke alarms or mapping home escape routes."

The Stay Fire Smart campaign began in the summer of 2013 with the goal of visiting every home in Newmarket and Aurora over a five-year period. 

In 2017, CYFS reached that goal by visiting every residence in Newmarket and Aurora, or about 44,000 homes. 

In 2018, CYFS introduced smart technology by using iPads and the Stay Fire Smart App for the campaign. This technology is expected to advance the existing program by allowing the service to collect data to track the success of its efforts. 

A survey conducted by CYFS during its 2018 fire safety campaign, during which 1,026 homes were visited and 801 people participated, showed that 82 per cent of residents did not have a home-escape plan. In addition, 76 per cent of residents who did have such a plan did not practise it.

As well, nearly half of respondents were not aware that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have an expiry date.

Here are the fire safety messages from CYFS:

Home-Escape Planning

  • Develop and practise your home-escape plan with every person in your household.
  • Choose a common meeting place outside a safe distance from your home to make sure everyone is accounted for.
  • Get out and stay out. Never re-enter the building and call the fire department from a cellphone or neighbour's phone.

Smoke Alarm Safety

  • Provincial law requires that smoke alarms be installed on every storey and outside of all sleeping areas in the home.
  • Change the batteries on your smoke alarm once a year or whenever the low battery warning sounds.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly to ensure the batteries are still good and the alarm is working.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Safety

  • Provincial law requires that CO alarms be installed outside of all sleeping areas in the home.
  • Change the batteries on your CO alarm once a year or whenever the low battery warning sounds.
  • Test CO alarms monthly to ensure the batteries are still good and the alarm is working.
To book an appointment or for more information, call 905-895-9222. For more information on CYFS, visit here.



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Kim Champion

About the Author: Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a veteran journalist and editor who covers Newmarket and issues that impact York Region.
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