Advance View: Only working detectors work

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Working smoke alarms save lives.

They’re words to live by, and quite appropriately, they’re the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week.

Many times we’ve all been apprized of the importance of having smoke alarms in our homes.

They save lives. It’s what we’re told, and it really doesn’t take being told to realize that that must be true – it’s simple common sense.

Smoke detectors have been the focus of Fire Prevention Weeks several times over the years, which further emphasizes the importance attributed to them by professional fire responders – the folks who certainly know better than the rest of us how effective and necessary they are.

They are the folks who get to clean up the mess when fire breaks out in a home where no smoke detectors have been installed… or when the smoke alarms that have been installed don’t work.

It’s true that smoke detectors aren’t 100 per cent effective – but the numbers work out very much in favour of lives that are saved (or homes that have been rescued from total oblivion).

It’s like seat belts in your car – they might not save your life in a serious situation, but your odds of survival are greatly enhanced.

But smoke detectors only work if they… well… work.

And that’s the real focus of this year’s Fire Prevention Week: make sure your smoke detector isn’t just installed, but that it is working properly.

Past campaigns have prompted us all to test our smoke detectors at the time changes from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time.

And while that’s better than letting your detectors slowly die and become ineffective on your ceilings and walls, the push now is to advance our efforts towards monthly checks.

Seriously, it’s your life and the lives of your family that we’re talking about.

– B.G.

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