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Educating residents on fire safety

Oshawa Fire Services (OFS) has kicked off its annual Alarmed for Life campaign and is encouraging Oshawa residents to participate in the program to learn more about fire safety.

“The reason this program was developed is to make sure people have working smoke alarms, first and foremost, it’s early detection that saves lives,” says Deputy Fire Chief Steve Barkwell.

The Alarmed for Life program is an annual event that is done across the province, as directed by the Fire Marshal’s office. The Oshawa Alarmed for Life program has been running since 2013.

The OFS visits about 9,000 homes in Oshawa during each Alarmed for Life season, going door-to-door in the downtown, giving free fire inspections, educating residents and checking and testing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. They will also answer questions about fire safety.


The area was chosen because the program cycles through various areas of the city each year. The downtown area was last selected in 2013. OFS is targeting around 4,600 buildings in this area. Barkwell suggests they may take a more targeted approach in the future by using collected data to help point out which areas seem to be struggling with fire safety.

“We may be taking a more targeted approach in areas in the city where we see a higher instance of fire calls and hopefully in the future we can see these instances not happening in those areas anymore,” says Barkwell.

If alarms are broken or missing, they will be installed by OFS. Historically, according to Barkwell, OFS has issued fines to landlords or homeowners when it has been determined that there was no fire alarm in an emergency. However, during this program OFS will not fine anyone for lack of safety devices.

“If we’re going door-to-door, we want them [the people] to engage with us,” says Barkwell, “So in no way, shape or form, are we going door-to-door to be issuing fines for not having these available.”