Smoke alarms have been shown to reduce fires spreading significantly. The Sidney fire department supply any resident who wants one with a free unit. (Photo courtesy City of Campbell River)

Sidney Fire provides free smoke alarms

Firefighters happy to meet with residents to help develop a plan in case of fire

After fire departments across the country used the recent clock change to remind residents to change their smoke alarm’s batteries, Sidney fire department have said they will provide a free detector to anyone in need.

Smoke alarms or detectors are a simple tool in the fight against fire damage and personal injury, and according to statistics, they are effective too.

A recent study showed that the risk of fires spreading beyond the room of origin, where a smoke alarm was not present, increased by 17 per cent for each one-minute increase in the time required for the fire service to assemble and attend the fire.

The influence of response time was countered by the presence of working smoke alarms, which reduced the likelihood of fires developing beyond the room of origin by 71 per cent, regardless of the fire department’s response time.

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Sidney Fire Chief Brett Mikkelsen recognizes the value of smoke detectors and, at present, offers free units to any Sidney resident who requests one.

“We are happy to go into a resident’s home, to their schedule, and talk to them face-to face. We’re happy to talk fire plans and chat.”

The recent snowstorms showed fire departments in a selfless light across the Saanich Peninsula, with reports of Central Saanich firefighters coming to the assistance of two seniors with mobility issues after their power had gone out, and Sidney firefighters who dug out access roads so ambulances could access emergency routes.

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Mikkelsen says that beyond the practical purpose of delivering smoke alarms, it’s a good opportunity for his firefighters to meet the public and continue building positive relationships.

“We work for them. We’re happy to talk and meet people,” He notes, “Any time we can build rapport, is time well spent.”

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