Protecting families from fire, ‘silent killer’

Whitchurch-Stouffville Fire & Emergency Services (WSFES) has received 288 combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to help keep vulnerable families safe from fire and the ‘silent killer’ through Safe Community Project Zero.

The Enbridge Gas public education campaign is delivered annually in partnership with the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council (FMPFSC) to promote the installation of the alarms in homes in communities in which Enbridge operates.

As its name suggests, the goal of the campaign is to bring fire and carbon monoxide-related deaths to zero. When properly installed and maintained, combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms help provide the early warning to safely escape from a house fire or carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide is a toxic, odourless gas that’s a by-product of incomplete combustion of many types of common fuels.

“Properly maintaining fuel burning equipment is the best way to reduce potential exposure to carbon monoxide and an alarm is a critical second line of defence for protection,” says Matthew Banks, Station Operations Manager, GTA East Operations, Enbridge Gas. “When we implement these strategies together, we protect our loved ones from carbon monoxide poisoning, also known as the ‘silent killer.’”

Enbridge Gas invested $315,000 in Safe Community Project Zero this year, which will distribute more than 10,000 alarms to homes in need – including to older adults, persons with disabilities and low-income households – in 50 communities across Ontario. Since the program’s founding in 2009, it has provided more than 86,000 alarms to Ontario fire departments.

“Across Ontario there is a renewed focus on the importance of having working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home. The objective of Safe Community Project Zero is to deliver these alarms to areas where they are needed most,” says Jon Pegg, Ontario Fire Marshal and Chair of the FMFSC.

“It’s a program that fire departments can adopt to help educate their communities about the requirement for all Ontario homes to have a carbon monoxide alarm if they have a fuel-burning appliance or an attached garage.”

WSFES Fire Chief says the donation will assist it “immensely” in its community outreach programs. “Only working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will alert us in the event of emergencies such as a fire or carbon monoxide exposure,” he says.

Photo courtesy of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

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