2008 a record year for fire deaths? "…We always find batteries in the TV remote…" Saint John NB

The year 2008 is on track to set new records for fire deaths in Canada. That is not a statistic that local firefighters and public safety officials l ...

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2008 a record year for fire deaths? "…We always find batteries in the TV remote…"

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(NC)-The year 2008 is on track to set new records for fire deaths in Canada. That is not a statistic that local firefighters and public safety officials like to hear.

When they sift through the devastating aftermath of home fire tragedies, often what they find leaves them frustrated and even angry.

"How many more times must our firefighters discover disconnected smoke alarms and alarms without batteries?" says Carol Heller, a fire safety specialist with Kidde Canada, this country's largest manufacturer of fire safety products. "Firemen consistently say they always find batteries in the TV remote…but they are often absent from potentially life-saving tools like smoke alarms."

Smoke alarms can increase your chances of surviving a fire by 50 per cent. "Time is precious when it comes to escaping a home in the event of a fire, so is your family," she says. "When people take alarms down after they burn their toast, or remove the batteries or disconnect the wires, they often pay for that with their lives, or, the lives of their family members."

Heller believes most people remove or disarm smoke alarms with good intentions - to temporarily silence a nuisance alarm. But she points out that the problem arises when people forget to re-install them. This practice is confirmed by a recent Ipsos Reid National Fire Safety Poll that found more than one-half of people surveyed admit they have disconnected a smoke alarm and then forgotten to re-install it.

"With today's smoke alarm technology, and fire safety public education, there is no reason for this to continue," Heller says. She notes photoelectric smoke alarms that are well-suited for kitchen-area use, and, tamper-proof smoke alarms that have 10-year batteries that never need to be changed until the alarms expires, as two examples.

She also points to new model smoke alarms that come equipped with a "Hush" button that allows homeowners to silence a false alarm temporarily. By pushing the "Hush" button, similar to the "Test Battery" button found on the face of the smoke alarm, the alarm is silenced to allow the steam or smoke from burnt food to be cleared. The alarm will re-sound if a real fire is detected, and, at the end of the "Hush" period the alarm resets itself.

As well, Heller says, Photoelectric smoke alarms are well-suited for kitchens as they are sensitive to slow smoldering and other fires typical of this area in your home.

For more information on smoke alarm features and home fire safety tips go to the www.SafeAtHome.ca web site.

Credit: www.newscanada.com