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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Firefighter door knocking campaign connects with residents to ensure smoke alarms are working


by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

Being a firefighter with Essex Fire & Rescue is more than responding to emergency calls, it includes educating the public on fire prevention and safety.


While gearing up to participate in the National Fire Protection Association’s annual Fire Prevention Week – which will take place between October 8-14 – local firefighters from all three of Essex’s fire stations participated in the annual door knocking campaign last Wednesday evening. This initiative is meant to connect firefighters with residents to ensure their smoke alarms are in good working order.


While on doorsteps, firefighters were pleased to answer any fire safety and prevention questions residents may have had, while expressing the importance of having working smoke alarms and an escape plan to assist families if an emergency is to ever arise.


Jacey Brockman, Assistant Deputy Chief, explained that local firefighters are committed to ensuring community members are safe, and a big part of that is focusing on fire prevention messaging. Properly working smoke alarms – that have not exceeded past their life-cycle – are not only required by law, but are essential in helping to alert families and individuals of a fire-related emergency.


Thanks to a recent Rotary Club of Harrow donation of $4750, which allowed Essex Fire to purchase around 150 CO/smoke alarms, firefighters were able to provide one of the combination devices to families who may be in need of a new smoke alarm and needed a little assistance in getting one.


During the door knocking campaign, Firefighters were out in their communities for two-hours. Brockman noted that in the short amount of time, Firefighters gave out 50 CO/smoke alarm devices between the three stations.


He said, on one hand, it is awesome that 50 homes now have a proper device, however, it is also disheartening that many homes were discovered to have either expired or missing devices in that short amount of time.


“It shows the need for fire prevention and education,” Brockman said, adding it also “emphasizes the need for partnerships, like partnering with the Rotary Club of Harrow, so Essex Fire can give out smoke alarms to families in need of them.


“We rather be speaking to people on their door steps, providing education on the importance of smoke alarms, as opposed to after a tragedy has happened,” he said.


This smoke alarm campaign is ongoing. Those in need of a device can reach out to Essex Fire at 519-776-7132, or visit essex.ca and fill out an application.


“We do not want to see anyone without a smoke alarm,” Brockman said.


As part of Fire Prevention Week, Essex Fire & Rescue will host its Fire Prevention Open House night at all three stations – Essex Centre, McGregor, and Harrow – from 5:30-7:30pm on October 11. This event allows youngsters a chance to tour the fire hall, meet firefighters, and even get a ride in a fire truck.


This year’s theme is “Cooking Safety Starts with YOU. Pay attention to Fire Prevention.”


Brockman is anticipating a great turnout at the event, which also provides visitors with a free hot dog and a drink.

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