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We can live with sound of a smoke alarm

spence sample

Whenever we hear that fire truck siren, we panic for a moment, hoping our fellow Albertans are safe.
It’s a sound we’d rather not hear. The sound of a smoke alarm, on the other hand, is one we can live with.
Research shows us that a properly installed and working smoke alarm can cut the chances of dying in a fire in half.
Yet we know that too many homes in Alberta do not have this life-saving device — and in too many homes they have been disabled.
Research on home fires show that in as little as three minutes, a fire can become deadly to the occupants due to toxic smoke from burning synthetic materials present in drapes, carpeting and furniture.
A well-trained and well-equipped urban fire service will reach a burning home in seven minutes or more after a call is received.
This is too late to save occupants who may already be overcome by toxic smoke.
All Albertans need to prevent fires in our homes and ensure safe evacuation.
A key part of this evacuation process is early detection of a fire by a smoke alarm.
Fire Prevention Week reminds all Albertans about the tragedies and loss fires can cause.
More importantly, it reminds Albertans about the ways they can prevent fires and protect themselves and their families.
(Spence Sample is Acting Fire Commissioner, Office of the Fire Commissioner, Municipal Affairs.)