Smoke alarm push targets insurance renewal

B.C. fire chiefs eye new campaign tactic to push residential fire safety

Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis is president of the Fire Chiefs' Association of B.C.

Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis is president of the Fire Chiefs' Association of B.C.

Anyone buying or renewing home insurance should be compelled by law to first declare they have a working smoke alarm.

That’s the legislative change now being sought by the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. (FCABC) in the latest phase of their campaign to get working smoke alarms into every home in the province.

The proposed change to B.C.’s Insurance Act has backing from the City of Nelson and Cariboo Regional District and FCABC president Len Garis expects other cities and regions to endorse it.

“We don’t expect insurance companies to enforce the working smoke alarm declarations,” Surrey’s fire chief said. “The intent is to use insurance renewals to educate the public about the importance of working smoke alarms.”

Garis noted insurance companies have a vested interest in ensuring homes they insure are safe from fire, crime and other hazards, and routinely offer discounts based on risk.

A multi-agency drive with corporate support has been underway since 2012 to hand out free smoke alarms to vulnerable residents, particularly First Nations and the elderly.

Nearly 70 per cent of B.C. homes that caught fire from 2006 to 2011 did not have a functioning smoke alarm. The FCABC estimates a working smoke alarm in every B.C. home could reduce annual fire deaths by 32 per cent and notes residential fire fatalities are already down sharply in the first year of the effort.

More than 21,000 donated smoke alarms have been handed out with the help of campaign sponsors, including Kidde Canada, Black Press, Super Save Group, Shaw Cable and the federal aboriginal affairs department.

For more on the campaign see www.workingsmokealarms.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

The biggest risk to the Island's economy post-earthquake is that it may never return, according to Bruce Williams, interim CEO of the South Island Prosperity Partnership. (Contributed by Bruce Williams)
Greater Victoria businesses in chamber spotlight for 2021 awards

Annual awards program highlights local companies making the most of things, despite the pandemic

A shot from the rehearsal of Being Here: The Refugee Project, the Belfry Theatre’s filmed play that’s set to open on March 16. (Photo: Belfry Theatre)
Victoria’s Belfry Theatre shows filmed play on refugee, sponsor experience

Being Here: The Refugee Project is based off the first-hand accounts of refugees and their sponsors

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read