According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) data we can each expect five home fires in our lifetime. Most will not be reported.
I personally, have experienced two home fires. Both fires were extinguished and were not reported.
Unreported Apartment Fire-Incident
Whenever, I visit my son coffee is always prepared in a stove top Moka pot. This visit as usual, I turned on the element, and left the kitchen to take a quick shower. As I stepped out of the shower the smoke alarm in the hall started ringing. My first thought was the coffee had boiled over.
I opened the bathroom door and was shocked to find the apartment was full of smoke. From the distance, I observed the kitchen glowing a bright orange. I shouted to my son, he responded, acknowledging he was awake. I silenced the alarm, and moved towards the kitchen.
In the kitchen, I saw a pot on fire, and the cabinets burning. I instinctively turned off the stove, and covered the pot. I carefully moved the hot pot to the sink. I pressed on to deal with the burning cabinets. I attacked the blaze with a towel and quickly swatted out the flames.
What I Learned From This Fire Incident
- without a working smoke alarm the fire would have escalated
- the importance of checking that smoke alarms are working
- a home fire can happen at anytime, anywhere, and to anyone
Did You Know?
A 2017 Statistics Canada report on the performance of smoke alarms in 126,773 reported home fires specifically examined the “non-presence of smoke alarms” and discovered a 60% increase in missing smoke alarms.
It was also reported that non-activation rates averaged 13% over the same 2005-2014 reporting period. *Source National Fire Information Database
Smoke Alarm Status In Ontario
- operated in 44% of the home loss fires
- 17% of home fires were without alarms
- undetermined presence in 16%
- present, but operation undetermined in 8%
- present, but did not operate **15%
The **15% of the alarms that did not operate
- 4% had no batteries or AC power
- 6% were remote or separate from the fire
- > 1% unit failure; improper installation, tampering, vandalism
- 1% various other reasons for non-operation
- 3% reported as undetermined
The OFM also reported 762 fire deaths from 2007 and 2016.
Smoke Alarm Status In Ottawa
Since incorporating in 2015 WCMCI Fire & Safety has removed hundreds of expired and non-performing smoke alarms from homes in Ottawa and the surrounding area. Additionally, we have replaced many missing, and disconnected units.
We have discovered incorrectly installed batteries and non functioning 10 year sealed battery units. We have relocated devices to provide optimal coverage and to correct out-of-compliance installations.
We have replaced scorched and burnt devises and units failing a our SmokeCheck functional test. Standard builder grade alarms are being replaced with UL approved battery backup alarms providing protection during power outages.
WCMCI Fire & Safety in the only company in Ottawa functionally testing smoke, and Carbon Monoxide alarms with smoke and CO detector tester.
Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives
Thirty years ago, we had approximately 17 minutes to escape a home fire. Today, our escape time is three minutes. With escape times so critical working smoke alarm are so very important. Be sure to check out our Annual Maintenance Program as it is guaranteed to make your homes safer.