Pickering Fire Services knocking on doors - Annual home inspections kick off

Pickering Fire Services knocking on doors - Annual home inspections kick off - PICKERING -- Firefighters will be making sure the residents of Pickering are fire safe this summer with their annual home safety program.

Pickering Fire Services knocking on doors. PICKERING -- Pickering Fire Services John Mairs and Dave Higgins spoke to the Hanna family, Joanne and Andrew with little Weston, about their escape plan during a June 20 home inspection open house to raise awareness about fire safety. June 20, 2012 Jason Liebregts / Metroland

This is the first year firefighters will be entering homes to personally inspect, and possibly replace, fire alarms at the homeowners request. In previous years, fire safety checks involved firefighters speaking with homeowners at the door.

"If we can go into a home rather than just speaking to homeowners at the door ,firefighters can actually replace or change the batteries in smoke alarms for free while they're there," said Julie Ineson, fire inspector with Pickering Fire Services.

"I know the firefighters feel better knowing they are leaving that house fully protected, and we really want to educate the community as to having working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms give residents an early warning in the case of fire so they can implement a home escape plan, and those extra seconds count."

The home safety program runs through Labour Day, with 16 teams covering about 3,200 homes.

"We've had a great turnout for inspections, I think this year we've gone into more homes than any year in the past," said firefighter Dave Higgins.

"Most people are somewhat aware of fire safety but we usually give them a few tips they might not know, like to clean smoke alarms with a vacuum to clear away dust and debris and to test alarms monthly. Survival rates in a fire go up 50 per cent when there's working smoke alarms, so it's definitely important."

On June 20 firefighters visited the Hanna family to check on their fire safety situation. Given the recent arrival of four-month old Weston, fire safety was something that had been on the minds of parents Joanne and Andrew Hanna when they moved into the home last year.

"I was concerned about how old the smoke alarms were and there weren't any carbon monoxide detectors, we wanted to get everything in order before Weston arrived," Mr. Hanna explained, noting the family requested the inspection for peace of mind.

"We didn't know about cleaning the smoke alarms so that was nice to find out, and we also learned a lot about escape plans."

"It was good to have them come in and just check everything so we know it's safe," Ms. Hanna added.

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