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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Harrow Rotary donates $4750 so Essex Fire can purchase and distribute CO/smoke alarms

by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

When Loren Smith, the Chairman for Community Service for the Rotary Club of Harrow, was a firefighter in Harrow, he saw the benefits of working smoke alarms in helping to get

families out of a crisis before it was too late.

Looking back at a firefighting career that spanned 34-years, he often wonders if those who perished in a fire – or were affected by one for life – in the days before smoke alarms were available to families, if those individuals would have been able to get out of their homes before it was too late.

“We don’t want to see anyone without one,” Smith said.

From his years as a firefighter, fire safety and prevention are top of mind, so he was pleased he and fellow Harrow Rotarians were able to forward $4750 to Essex Fire & Rescue last Friday morning, which will allow the local fire service to purchase around 150 carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarm combo devices for local families in need.

“This will definitely make the community safer,” Jacey Brockman, Assistant Deputy Fire Chief, said.

He noted Essex Fire & Rescue was thrilled with the donation, which will be forwarded to members of the community who need such a device and may not have the means to get one otherwise.

“We want to make every resident safe in Essex.”

As the donation was made from the Rotary Club of Harrow, the lifesaving devices will be concentrated on families and individuals in that Harrow and Colchester area, but will be available to the municipality at large, as well.

In addition to having a properly working CO/smoke alarm device, Acting Fire Chief Jason Pillon said it is also important for families to have an escape plan that should be practiced with children once a month. He suggested having a meeting place outside the home, and if there is an emergency to stay in that predetermined meeting place to ensure everyone is accounted for.

Smith noted this is the second time the Rotary Club of Harrow has made this type of donation.

“We’ve seen the benefits,” he said, handing over the cheque to the representatives of Essex Fire & Rescue. “I’m proud of this Fire Department. These guys go out and far beyond.”

Firefighters from all three stations with Essex Fire & Rescue will host its annual door knocking community connection event at homes through the municipality on October 4 to check on smoke alarms. Those in need will be given one of the donated devices.

Test Your Smoke Alarm Day September 28, Fire Prevention Week October 8-14

On Thursday, September 28, the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) will recognize the first annual “Test Your Smoke Alarm Day.”

This year’s theme is “Saved by the Beep,” a play on the ‘90s show, “Saved by the Bell.”

This program was introduced because there were 133 fire-related deaths last year, which is the most in the province for the past two decades, Assistant Deputy Fire Chief, Jacey Brockman, said.

This program is aimed at encouraging Ontarians to check to ensure their smoke alarms are working and are not expired.

The hope is to prevent fire-related deaths.

On October 4, Firefighters with Essex Fire & Rescue will go home-to-home throughout the municipality to ensure smoke alarms are working and families are safe. This is an annual campaign, which allows firefighters to connect with residents.

These programs take place before the kick-off of National Fire Protection Association’s annual Fire Prevention Week, which will take place between October 8-14.

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

On October 11, 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.

This event allows youngsters a chance to tour the fire hall, meet firefighters, and even get a ride in a fire truck.


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