WORKING SMOKE ALARMS SAVE LIVES

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Premier talks fire and rain
Kelowna Daily Courier Editor's Opinion
Premier in West Kelowna June 27, 2012


Premier Joins West Kelowna in Promoting Smoke Alarms

WEST KELOWNA - Premier Christy Clark announced that West Kelowna is the latest partner to join the campaign aimed at ensuring every B.C. home has a working smoke alarm.

"One of the simplest and most effective ways we can keep B.C. families safe in their homes is by ensuring they have a working smoke alarm that they test regularly," said Premier Clark. "We know that the safety of seniors in particular is improved when they have working smoke alarms in their homes. With so many people choosing to retire in the beautiful Okanagan, West Kelowna's leadership in joining us to actively support the smoke alarm campaign is vital."

In support of the campaign, the District of West Kelowna today announced its fire personnel are available to help residents install or test their smoke alarms, free of charge. As well, some residents may be eligible for a free alarm through the West Kelowna Fire Hall.

"Since we kicked off the smoke alarm campaign in March with a call for action, we have picked up generous support from many partners, and it's encouraging to see the momentum continue to build," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "As awareness grows and communities join in to ensure that vulnerable citizens are protected, I believe we can reduce fire-related deaths and injuries and save many families unnecessary grief."

Research by Surrey Fire Services, in partnership with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), has shown the province's most vulnerable populations, including seniors and young children, face the highest risk of dying in a residential fire. The Okanagan has one of British Columbia's largest concentrations of seniors per capita, with more than 350,000 people aged 65 and over.

"The District of West Kelowna is proud to be a new partner in this important campaign to save lives," said Doug Findlater, mayor of the District of West Kelowna. "Our firefighters are available to help residents stay safe by ensuring they have a working smoke alarm in their home."

The smoke alarm campaign, launched in Surrey last March, has attracted partners including B.C.'s Office of the Fire Commissioner, the Fire Chiefs' Association of B.C., the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Insurance Brokers' Association of B.C., the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the City of Surrey.

A backgrounder follows.

Contacts:

Jennifer Chalmers
Communications Coordinator
Office of the Premier
250 889-1363

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
250 356-6961

BACKGROUNDER

Ongoing campaign developments include:

Quick Facts:

The Surrey Fire Services and UFV research shows:

Data from the Office of the Fire Commissioner shows nearly 70 per cent of the fire scenes examined between 2006 and 2011 had no functioning smoke alarm.

Learn More:

The UFV study is at: www.ufv.ca/Assets/CCJR/Reports+and+Publications/Smoke_Alarms_Work$!2c_But_not_Forever.pdf

Further details about the campaign will be publicized as it rolls out during 2012. Information about the campaign will be available at: www.fcabc.ca

Contacts:

Jennifer Chalmers
Communications Coordinator
Office of the Premier
250 889-1363

Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
250 356-6961