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Real Estate Board and Fire Department Repeat Smoke Alarm Awareness Campaign

October 30, 2013 - 1:59 PM

KELOWNA - It will soon be time for clocks to fall back and another opportunity to remind home owners about changing the batteries in their smoke alarms.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) and the Kelowna Fire Department are pleased to declare November as “Smoke Alarm Awareness Month” -- a follow-up to their initial campaign in March.

“Following on the heels of a successful inaugural launch this Spring, we are delighted to announce OMREB’s ongoing partnership with the Kelowna Fire Department as we continue the collaborative public safety effort between REALTORS®, fire fighters and home owners for the month of November,” says OMREB  President Karen Singbeil.  “Working to promote the importance of functioning smoke alarms to help keep families safe in case of fire in their homes is a worthwhile community endeavor that certainly deserves repeating.”

”Once again, the Kelowna Fire Department is grateful to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board and its membership for partnering with us to assist fire safety personnel in educating the public about smoke alarms in their homes,” says Kelowna Fire Department’s Public Educator, Rick Euper.  “With 700 REALTORS® helping to get the word out in Kelowna for the second time this year to coincide with a time change, this local program will help prevent deaths and reduce annual fatalities from residential structural fires in the city.”

The BC Fire Chiefs ’Association has launched a smoke alarm campaign with the goal to reduce the loss of life due to fire, and many fire services in the province have initiated various programs throughout the year to get this message out.  Locally, the Kelowna Fire Department is conducting door to door visits in modular home parks and they have engaged the support of a number of industries with the hope that the initiative eventually becomes a provincial level program.

Kelowna Campaign
The purpose of the Kelowna campaign is to get home owners thinking and talking about smoke alarms with the help of REALTORS® to ensure that they have functioning alarms in their homes.   The Fire Department has supplied copies of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs brochure, ”How to Stay Safe at Home”, for distribution to Kelowna real estate offices to  be included with listing documents and left with home sellers as a community service during March and November. 

To download a copy, visit:

During the month of November, OMREB and the Kelowna Fire Department will also run a full-page colour ad on the back cover of the Central Okanagan editions of OMREB’s MLS® Review publication to remind home owners to make sure all smoke alarms are working properly and have fresh batteries.

While the pilot campaign launched in March and repeated in November focuses on Kelowna, the partners hope that it can expand to West Kelowna and other communities in the Central Okanagan through partnerships with their local Fire Departments, and eventually roll out Board-wide to include the North Okanagan and Shuswap for the full support and participation of OMREB’s 1,000 member REALTORS®.

Fall Back Sunday
With the change back to standard time happening at 2:00 a.m. this Sunday (November 3rd), the Kelowna Fire Department wants to remind residents that this is a good time to change the batteries in all of their home's smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and to ensure they are functioning.
“To stay safe, replacing batteries in all smoke alarms should be done at least once a year, and changing them while updating the time on all of your clocks serves as a great reminder,” notes  Rick Euper.  “In addition, smoke alarms should be tested once a month, and if an alarm ‘chirps’ warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.  Also check the date of manufacture.  If your smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, it should be replaced.
Smoke Alarm Facts
Research by the University of Fraser Valley revealed that almost 70% of houses that caught fire in British Columbia did not have a functioning smoke alarm.  Working smoke alarms increase your likelihood of surviving a fire by 74%.

A recent three-year campaign that reached more than 30,000 of the highest fire-risk addresses in the City of Surrey demonstrated the following:
-  Rates of fires per 1,000 dwellings reduced in the visited addresses by over 60% relative to controls
-  Smoke alarm activation in the event of a fire increased by almost 170%
-  The frequency at which fires were contained to the object of origin increased by over 250%
-  The average dollar loss incurred per fire reduced by over 40%.

“Overall, as a result of this program, there were fewer residential structure fires, and those that did occur were smaller and resulted in lower dollar loss,” Euper explains.  “In addition, residents were alerted more often by functioning smoke alarms.”

Smoke Alarm Tips
Install one smoke alarm per floor and outside sleeping areas in your home – or inside each bedroom if your loved ones sleep with doors closed.  The new 2012 BC Building Code requires a smoke alarm be installed in each bedroom as well for any new construction.
Never take down an alarm or remove batteries to silence a nuisance alarm caused by cooking or shower steam.
Install smoke alarms with a “hush” button – simply push button to stay safe while you clear the air.

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board is comprised of 1,007 member REALTORS® and 93 real estate offices in the Southern Interior of BC, and the Board area covers the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan and Shuswap – from Peachland to Revelstoke.  The Central Zone of OMREB covers an area from Peachland to Lake Country and east along Highway 33 to Westbridge (including the Christian Valley).

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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