Rotary leads smoke alarm giveaway

By Darren Lum

Published Sept 11 2018

A few minutes can be the difference between life and death says Haliburton fire chief Mike Iles who is applauding the Rotary Club of Haliburton for their effort to give away 200 smoke alarms.

Rotarian Richard van Nood said this is about making the community a safer place.

“If just one life is saved by one of these detectors we would consider this program a major success” he said.

Earlier this year Iles gave a presentation on fire safety at the club’s weekly meeting.

The Rotarians were alarmed to learn from the chief that close to 40 per cent of residents are not in compliance with the provincial fire code.

Iles said there needs to be a smoke detector on each floor and outside each area where people sleep.

“Very often when we go into a home or when we do our fire department inspections it’s not uncommon to find the date on them have expired” he said.

The Rotary Club decided to buy the smoke detectors several months ago with the purpose of giving them away. Summer proved too busy and delayed the giveaway.

Smoke alarms will be available from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 15 at the Haliburton Fire Department.

This is the club’s first smoke alarm giveaway and will be limited to one per household.

“We will record the postal code of the recipient just to track where they went to. Obviously we hope that we mainly target people that would benefit the most from not having to buy their own smoke detectors but we won’t be checking tax returns” van Nood said.

If there is enough demand the club has considered expanding the program he adds.

Conventionally smoke alarms can be inspected when adjusting for daylight saving time.

However he said they should be checked regularly at least monthly to ensure they are functioning properly and have not expired.

“They may fail or not activate and if do activate or you push the test button they’re not as sensitive … you may lose valuable time” he said.

The chief for the last two years said having fully functional and up-to-date smoke detectors is not only the law it is essential to providing the time to escape and to avert a tragedy.

“We’ve had fires in the county where people probably are alive because they had smoke alarms. They are very critical” he said.