New poll shows Canadians very vulnerable to fire tragedy Results frighten fire safety experts Iqaluit NU

A new cross-country fire safety poll has revealed that Canadians are more vulnerable to fire tragedies than we need to be.

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New poll shows Canadians very vulnerable to fire tragedy Results frighten fire safety experts

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(NC)-A new cross-country fire safety poll has revealed that Canadians are more vulnerable to fire tragedies than we need to be.

Although most Canadians are getting better at simple routines such as "change your clocks, change your smoke alarm batteries," there are still huge gaps in understanding two other critical fire safety essentials.

"This is a good news-bad news story," says Bill Stewart of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs. "The good news is that people are doing a better job of regularly replacing their smoke alarm batteries. The bad news is that they don't realize smoke alarms wear out, so people are often not as safe as they think. And Canadians still remove batteries or take smoke alarms off the ceiling to silence a nuisance alarm, at a disturbing rate."

The online survey, administered to over 2,200 Canadians by national polling firm Ipsos Reid, was commissioned jointly by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and Kidde Canada, the country's number one smoke alarm company. Most alarming was the finding that 74 per cent of people mistakenly believe their smoke alarm is working fine so long as the alarm sounds when the Test button is pressed. Fire safety officials point out that this only proves the unit has power, NOT that it is working within its acceptable lifespan.

Another 37 per cent of Canadians believe their smoke alarms last for as long as they live in their home.

Carol Heller is a fire safety expert with Kidde Canada. The poll results frighten her. "Smoke alarms monitor air in your home 24 hours a day, 7 days week. So they can't last forever. It scares me that over one-third of Canadians think their smoke alarms last forever, when the National Fire Protection Association says replace them every 10 years."

The poll also examined the important issue of smoke alarm tampering. More than one-half of all people surveyed (51 per cent) admit that when faced with a blaring smoke alarm caused by burnt toast or shower steam, they silence it by removing the battery or removing the unit from the ceiling. Compounding this, 50 per cent admit they often forget to put batteries back in, or, reinstall the alarm.

Fire safety statistics show that more than one-half of fatal fires involve a home with a smoke alarm with no batteries or with no smoke alarm at all.

The National Fire Safety Poll focused on owners of older homes, since most have aging smoke alarms that rely on battery power. Yet the survey found that there is equal confusion about replacing smoke alarms that are wired right into a home's electrical system. A full 36 per cent of people surveyed incorrectly believe hard-wired alarms never need to be replaced, when in fact they need to be replaced every ten years too.

New wireless technology is helping owners of older homes upgrade to interconnected smoke alarms without the need for re-wiring. The new battery powered alarms interconnect by radio frequency, so that when one alarm sounds, all wireless alarms in the home sound simultaneously. This system provides more warning in more places, and gives families more time to escape a fire. Which is critical, since homeowners have mere minutes to escape a house fire.

More information about the poll plus smoke alarm maintenance and replacement tips can be found on the www.SafeAtHome.ca web site.

Credit: www.newscanada.com