Cramahe Fire Dept. launches online campaign after series of fatal fires

Cramahe Fire Dept. launches online campaign after series of fatal fires
By Sarah Hyatt
Brighton Independent
Link to article: Cramahe Fire Dept. launches online campaign after series of fatal fires

Following several fatal fires throughout Ontario this month, fire officials everywhere, including in the Cramahe area, are reminding communities of the importance of working smoke alarms.

Hoping to reach more families and residents, the Cramahe fire department has recently rolled out an online campaign encouraging folks to test smoke alarms.

Since the start of 2018, four fires in Ontario have claimed eight lives.

“So, 2018 is not off to a good start,” said Cramahe fire Chief Brandon Northrup.

On Jan. 12, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs also issued a public plea to put an end to further tragedies this year, urging people to follow simple and life-saving fire prevention strategies at home.

The association’s statement recapped the Oshawa fire on Jan. 8, which took four people’s lives, including two kids and how this fire happened just days after a fatal fire in Tottenham on Jan. 1, where two others were also injured.

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office determined there were no working smoke alarms in either home.

Another man perished in a Belleville apartment fire on Jan. 7 and then Brighton lost two residents on Jan. 10, as a single-family house on Harbour Street was fully engulfed by the time first responders arrived on scene. Investigations are continuing.

On Jan. 17, the Cramahe fire department announced its online campaign, which asks residents to test their smoke alarms and to take a photograph while doing it, whether it’s an individual or family shot, it’s up to those willing to take part.

The photo should then be shared in response to the department’s post on Facebook, along with an important fire safety message. Participants should then share and like the post.

“And if you don’t have a smoke alarm, please get one — you can buy one for as cheap as $10,” said Northrup. “We want to make sure people are safe.”

People who visit the fire department’s Facebook page may also take note of some of the alarming statistics shared online.

For example, three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Online participants will have their names entered into a draw held on Feb. 14. (Submissions must be posted by 12 a.m. Feb. 14).

As a reward, the winner of the draw gets to meet and join local firefighters during one of their training nights.

So, folks will be able to see what it takes for firefighters “to maintain our skills to keep our community safe.” The date for the training exercise and visit will be a Wednesday evening, though a firm date has yet to be determined.

The winner of the draw will also receive a fire extinguisher and a tour of the new Colborne Fire and Emergency Services base, which fire and ambulance moved into last March.

Northrup is hopeful the reward will entice some residents, as it is “kind of exciting.”

This is a brand-new, $3.5-million facility, it’s pretty unique for the size of the community and the kids sure love to get in the station and see all the equipment, he said.

The department does try and make public education include a bit of fun, he added, while stressing the fact that public education is in reality the No. 1 line of defence.

This online campaign is just the latest way the department is trying to reach residents, folks can expect more public education and home visits in February.

The department does try to be proactive with initiatives like this one and with its Alarmed for Life campaign, said Northrup.

Cramahe firefighters were just out in December, going door-to-door, trying to educate residents on the importance of working smoke and CO alarms, and also looking to ensure alarms are working and are where they need to be.

Firefighters will be heading out again in February for the Alarmed for Life program.

Northrup reminds residents that more modern houses and the houses built today burn about eight times faster than back in the 50s.

The early detection and warning is key, people should not underestimate how vital a working smoke alarm is, he said. 

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