EDITORIAL: Smoke detectors save lives

Firefighters across the Alberni Valley are pushing the importance of functional smoke detectors this week.

Firefighters across the Alberni Valley are pushing the importance of functional smoke detectors this week, as Canada recognizes Fire Prevention Week Oct. 9–15. This year’s national theme focuses on replacing smoke detectors every 10 years.

Smoke detectors will double your chance of surviving a fire, Port Alberni Fire Prevention Officer Randy Thoen says.

Thoen has seen first hand the value of having smoke detectors: last summer, he says, was a busy one for structure fires, and in the majority of cases, homes did not have working detectors.

In the United States, according to National Fire Protection Association statistics, three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms.

It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure homes have working smoke alarms. For rental units, landlords are required by law to ensure each unit has the required smoke detectors, and that they are in working condition. They also must check the detectors once a year.

Renters have the right to ensure their landlords are keeping up with this law.

Renters also have the responsibility to leave battery-operated detectors in place for the next tenant—and most of all, to make sure the battery stays connected so the detectors can do their job.

We wouldn’t have to be reminding people if these types of stories weren’t a firefighter’s reality.

— ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS