Smoke Detector Program

Smoke Detector Program

Studies suggest that 56% of fire fatalities can be attributed to either a faulty smoke detector or the absence of a smoke detector in the home. In 76 per cent of fatal fires, dead or incorrectly installed batteries caused smoke detector failures.

Smoke detectors save lives. If a home fire occurs, a properly installed, fully functioning smoke detector could make all the difference between whether or not a family gets out safely.

CHBA-ER recognizes this, which is why in 2006 we approached Edmonton Fire Rescue with a plan to start a community smoke alarm program similar to programs sponsored in other major Canadian cities. An agreement was reached to jointly participate in a 3 year pilot project. After numerous meetings between Fire Rescue Services, the Union, and sponsors of the program, Edmonton’s Smoke Detector Program was born. The program officially launched in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week in 2007. That year, just over 1200 homes were visited and 775 smoke alarms were installed.

The Smoke Detector Program targets specific residential communities around the city, providing and installing smoke detectors free of charge to homeowners where needed. Fire Rescue teams go door to door speaking with homeowners and teaching them how to identify fire and injury hazards around the home. Homeowners are encouraged to conduct personal home safety checks and to follow up by correcting or eliminating the hazards identified.

In 2008, the areas of Jasper Place (Stn#4), Norwood (Stn#5), Mill Creek (Stn#6) and Highlands (Stn#7) were targeted. Homes in there areas were built pre 1974, (before smoke alarms became part of the building code requirement). Approximately 1200 homes were visited, with 500 alarms installed or new batteries put in.

Despite strong support for the program among the membership, it was temporarily halted between 2009 and 2010. In 2011, the groups reunited to revive the project. This time, it was held over the span of three weekends in October. Crews continued to visit homes in the Jasper Place (Stn#4), Norwood (Stn#5), Mill Creek (Stn#6) and Highlands (Stn#7) areas, as this is where the majority of pre 1974 homes are located and 15 of the top 20 fire locations are in these areas. A total of 753 smoke alarms and 314 9V batteries were installed over the course of the 6 day program.

For 2012, the program was divided into two sessions – one in the spring and one in the fall.  Each Platoon at stations 4, 5, 6 and 7 went out either on a Saturday or Sunday through the months of June and September. Crews found that a lot of the homes they went to had already been visited in recent years; this was taken into account when planning for future years. All together, over 400 smoke alarms and 63 batteries were installed.

Four totally different areas were selected in 2013 - Maple Ridge (Station 9), Castleview Village (Station 17), Evergreen Community (Station 18) and Westview Village (Station 23). This was the first time the program had reached out to manufactured home parks. Conventional smoke detectors were replaced with a new product called the Kidde Intelligent Talking Alarm – a battery operated combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. Approximately 500 units were installed.

Check your smoke detector!

You should have at least one functioning smoke detector on every level of your home. Battery or electric smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years, as the sensing devices do wear out. Check your smoke detector each month by pressing the test button; this will ensure the power supply to the device is adequate.

And remember...Change your clock. Change your battery.”

It is recommended that when you change the time on your clocks every spring and fall, you also change the battery on your smoke detector. While you’re at it, check the sensing chamber of the smoke detector by creating a small amount of smoke and allowing it to drift into the unit. If the smoke detector alarms within 20 seconds, the sensing chamber is working properly.