For this year’s Fire Prevention Week, Wheatland County Fire Services have begun an ambitious new project to see every home in the county better protected.
Fire prevention week runs from Oct. 3 to 9, with this year’s theme being “learn the sounds of fire safety,” referring to the noise of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Through a partnership with Ember, Enmax, TC Energy, Stella-Jones, Nutrien and Atco, Wheatland County Fire Services made a large purchase of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, intending to get working devices on every floor of every home.
“It’s something as a county that hasn’t ever been done. It’s been done sort of small scale in individual fire districts, but never on a large scale through the whole county,” said deputy regional fire chief Thomas Jukes.
“Working with our eight volunteer fire departments, as well as engaging both Wheatland Crossing school (and) Carseland school, we’ve become quite ambitious and we’re doing everything possible to ensure we get those working smoke detectors into each home.”
Jukes explained getting proper, working detectors on every floor of every home is only the minimum goal, as the team would also like to see protections in place in every bedroom as well.
Modern fire codes require working smoke alarms in every bedroom as well as throughout a home. It is only buildings that have been grandfathered in that do not strictly adhere to such codes.
“Part of this is we’re getting into all those homes throughout the county that have been built and have been established for a long time and making sure they do have working smoke detectors,” explained Jukes.
“The big push is to really get in those homes that the current fire code doesn’t apply to are properly protected, or those homes that so have protection that they have new detectors that haven’t expired.”
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have set expiry dates. Smoke detectors must be replaced once every 10 years, and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every five to seven years.
The impact of such a project, Jukes said, is to allow fire crews to respond to more incidents much faster, saving lives and preventing as much property damage and loss as possible.
As well, working detectors will allow occupants to be able to react and escape, potentially also preventing injuries or fatalities.
“Early notification of a fire saves lives and we know that. It’s just something that we felt was really needed,” said Jukes.
Local fire departments will be out in their own districts visiting homes and offering free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to residents. County residents are also able to stop by the county office to pick up their free detectors.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times