An initiative called Safe Community Project Zero, which is intended to get lifesaving alarms into the homes of people in need, benefitted local communities last month. Enbridge Gas donated 144 combination alarms, which provide both smoke and carbon monoxide detection, to the North Dundas Fire service on October 18. The donated alarms will be divided up amongst the fire stations in Winchester, Chesterville, South Mountain, and Morewood for distribution.
Safe Community Project Zero is a public education campaign delivered through the Fire Marshall’s Public Safety Council. The campaign will deliver 16,600 alarms in total to 70 different municipalities in Ontario. Over a span of 13 years, the program has already delivered 68,000 alarms. Enbridge has invested $500,000 in the project this year alone. Other municipalities have received alarm donations from Enbridge in the past several years, including a 2018 donation of 102 alarms to the Merrickville Fire Department.
A bulletin released by the Township of North Dundas on October 19 highlighted the donation, and featured comments from Deputy Mayor Allan Armstrong, who expressed deep gratitude to Enbridge for the donation. Deputy Mayor Armstrong also said that the alarms are “a needed commodity in every single home”, and that their cost “targets the less fortunate among us.”
Combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms typically cost about $50. By law, at least one working smoke alarm must be installed on each floor of a home, with at least one alarm outside of each sleeping area. Beyond this, it is also recommended that a smoke alarm be installed inside every bedroom. Carbon monoxide detectors must be installed outside each sleeping area of a home, provided that the home has a fuel burning appliance, a woodburning stove or fireplace, or an attached garage. A combination alarm is one device that provides protection from both fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
While the importance of smoke detectors has been known for decades, fire departments across the country have been attempting to raise awareness about the life-saving value of carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can lead to illness and death when levels inside a home become high. The burning of any fuel creates carbon monoxide, but appliances are vented outdoors to prevent poisoning. Levels can rise inside a home causing dangerous conditions when a vent pipe begins to leak or becomes blocked, or in other cases, such as when a car is left running inside an attached garage. An average of 300 people are killed in Canada each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas companies such as Enbridge often play a key role in educating the public about the dangers of carbon monoxide, since natural gas appliances produce it. Besides installing detectors, dwellers can help prevent carbon monoxide from entering their home by taking steps such as keeping furnace exhaust vents clear, and ensuring that cars are not left running in their garage.
To learn more about the Fire Marshall’s Public Fire Safety Council, visit their website at https://www.firesafetycouncil.com.
Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times