Grey Highlands declares Sept. 28 test your smoke alarm day

The Municipality of Grey Highlands has proclaimed Sept. 28 to be “test your smoke alarm” in the community.

Council passed the proclamation at its meeting on Sept. 20 after receiving a presentation from Fire Chief Marty Wellwood. The Grey Highlands Fire Department is participating in Ontario’s first-ever “test your smoke alarm” day through the province-wide Saved by the Beep campaign.

The fire department is asking everybody to take a moment on Sept. 28 to press the test button on their smoke alarms to ensure they are in good working order.

“Being prepared to act in the event of a fire can start with simply pressing the test button and having the confidence that a working smoke alarm is in your home,” said Wellwood. “Lives will be saved by regularly testing smoke alarms at least once a month, refreshing batteries at least once a year, and replacing smoke alarms older than 10 years.”

Grey Highlands firefighters will be at the Markdale Foodland on the afternoon of Sept. 28 promoting Saved by the Beep, answering fire safety questions and providing educational materials to local residents.

Wellwood said the Saved by the Beep campaign was organized after 133 people lost their lives in deadly fires in 2022 – the highest number in over 20 years. In many of the incidents it was found that there were no working smoke alarms.

“We don’t want any more fire fatalities anywhere,” said Wellwood. “Ninety-nine per cent of the time it’s preventable.”

Coun. Nadia Dubyk asked the fire chief how a local resident could go about getting a new smoke alarm if they needed one.

Wellwood said the fire department will come to local homes to install smoke alarms if necessary, noting that many residents have mobility limitations.

“If they can’t go to the local hardware store, call us. We’ll come and inspect the home and make sure it’s safe,” he said.

Ontario law requires a smoke alarm on every floor of a home.

Wellwood also encouraged local citizens to have pre-planned fire escape plans for their families and to practice the plans in order to be prepared in case of an emergency.

In a statement, Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen encouraged all local residents to participate in Saved by the Beep.

“The ‘Saved by the Beep’ campaign is a vital initiative for the Municipality of Grey Highlands, reminding us of the critical importance of fire safety. Together, we can ensure that every home in our community is protected, one smoke alarm at a time,” said McQueen.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,