The Town of Ponoka is asking for the help of local citizens in reducing the number of false alarm fire calls in the community. In 2019, almost half of all emergency fire calls in the Town were due to false alarms, which happens when a fire alarm is activated but there is no actual fire.
False Alarms Can Be Easily Prevented by Following a Few Simple Steps
The major causes of false alarm fire calls in Ponoka are due to cooking incidents, accidental activation of the alarm and improper maintenance. A total of 77 false alarm calls were responded to by fire crews in Ponoka last year.
“We want to see those numbers reduced, so we’re asking for the help of local citizens to make that happen,” said Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett. “Reducing the number of false alarms will help protect the safety and well-being of our citizens, which is why we’re launching a public safety awareness campaign to draw attention to the problem of false alarm fire calls,” he said.
“Our Fire Protection Services Bylaw does allow the Town to issue fines for repeat false alarms. However, right now our focus is on raising awareness around the issue of false alarms and educating our citizens on how they can prevent them at their home or business, rather than issuing fines,” said Mayor Bonnett. “We’re hoping public awareness will solve the problem,” he said.
How Can You Prevent False Alarms?
False alarms can be easily prevented, it just takes a little extra time to give your smoke alarms the proper care and attention they need False alarms can be prevented by following these simple steps.
Smoke alarms should be tested once a month. This helps prevent a false alarm triggered by a malfunctioning smoke alarm. It also protects the safety and well-being of your family by ensuring you have properly functioning equipment.
It is a good habit to replace smoke alarm batteries with fresh ones in the spring and fall when you set your clocks back or ahead by one hour for daylight savings. Faulty batteries can cause smoke alarms to malfunction. Don’t forget to test your smoke alarms every time you change the batteries, to make sure they still work.
Remember to clean your smoke alarms regularly as dust, cobwebs and dirt particles can cause alarms to be accidentally activated. You should replace your smoke alarm if it is more than 10 years old. Please do not paint or cover your smoke alarm, or do anything else that can hinder its ability to function properly.
It is important to make sure that you inform your alarm monitoring company before you clean or test your smoke alarms to prevent a false alarm from being triggered. You should also make sure that your monitoring company has your up-to-date contact information so they can notify you if your monitored smoke alarm system is activated.
Ensure smoke alarms are installed and placed properly. They should be placed at least three meters (10 feet) from the oven to prevent steam or smoke caused by cooking from activating the alarm. New research also shows that it’s best to have an interconnected smoke alarm in every bedroom on all levels of your home. Additionally, smoke alarms should not be placed in bathrooms or garages to avoid shower steam or dust, which can trigger false alarms.
If your alarm system has been triggered by accident, call your alarm monitoring company immediately to cancel the false alarm and prevent fire crews from being dispatched. Some monitoring companies will try calling you before dialling 911 to ensure the alarm is a real emergency. Be sure to answer their call right away.