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.

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.

Just Posted

WATCH: Final thoughts before the 75th Swiftsure Yacht Race

Nautical stories and racing strategies of some of the 200 crews heading out to sea Saturday

Teen Victoria brothers receive award for saving family from house fire

Sam and Finn Parker kept cool when their home started to burn and got three people out

Saanich Inlet bridge billion-dollar price tag too expensive says ministry

Malahat alternatives not practical from engineering, budget standpoint

Vehicle crosses into median and flips on Pat Bay Hwy

The vehicle landed upside down in oncoming lanes of traffic on the McKenzie overpass

Woman up on assault, mischief charges in relation to downtown incidents

Traffic cone throwing Wednesday night followed by knife threat on Wharf Street

Oak Bay Local founder looking to launch free monthly baby social

Julie Helms calls on municipality to fund drop-in for young families

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Most Read