Fire Chief Matt Treit
The Tumbler Ridge Fire Department responded to fourteen calls this past month which included nine First Responder calls, three reports of ringing fire alarms, one report of smoke, and one structure fire.
Training in the month of September included auto-extrication, embankment rescue, defensive fire operations, and strategies and tactics. Congratulations to Firefighter Dell for achieving 100% attendance at practice sessions during that month. Additional training included Firefighter Hall and Probationary Firefighter Dokkie attending Live Fire training in Grande Prairie.
A special congratulations goes out to Firefighter Mike Thibodeau who completed his NFPA 1001 training last month. This means that he has met the standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications. Congratulations Mike on this notable accomplishment!
Fire Prevention week stretches from October 5-11 this year and this year’s theme is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives”. For those who don’t know, Fire Prevention Week always includes the dates of October 8-9 as these were the days of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which may or may not have been started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.
In British Columbia, smoke alarms have been required in all homes since 1979, and since all homes in Tumbler Ridge were built after 1979, all homes here should have hard-wired smoke alarms. The requirements for smoke alarms have changed over the years, and as of May 1, 2010, all existing homes in BC were also required to be retrofitted with smoke alarms if they did not already have them.
The 2012 BC Building Code requires that a smoke alarm be installed on each storey of a dwelling unit (between the sleeping area and the remainder of the storey if there is a sleeping area on that storey) and in each sleeping room. So in a typical two storey, three bedroom house, there would be a smoke alarm in the basement, one in the upstairs hallway outside the bedroom area, and one in each bedroom. The smoke alarms are also required to be interconnected so that if one is activated, they will all activate.
While there is no legal requirement to retrofit dwelling units beyond the 1979 standard, smoke alarms are more about your family’s safety than about meeting any legal requirements. The fact is that there is endless documentation to show that “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives.” Smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and most manufacturers recommend replacing them after ten years of use. If you are having issues with a smoke alarm, the answer is not to simply disable it as my mother is wont to do. It may require a new battery, or slight relocation, or replacement, but remember that it is only working smoke alarms that save lives. If you have any questions about smoke alarms, please feel free to contact the Tumbler Ridge Fire Department.
The TRFD is continuing to look for new members. Experience is not necessary. We are looking for members who have a positive attitude and are willing to attend training sessions on a regular basis. If you would like more information about joining the Tumbler Ridge Fire Department, feel free to stop by the hall or call 250-242-3939.