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Canton Volunteer Firefighters, EMTs Take 'Be Safe, Replace' Campaign to the Streets

Effort postponed due to storm, done in midst of very busy weekend.

Submitted release

Despite a postponement due to Storm Sandy, the snowstorm that followed and a car fire that same Veterans Day morning, the Town of Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department still managed to spend Sunday afternoon driving apparatus throughout town to promote life safety through the use of fire and carbon monoxide alarms.

In 2006, the department introduced Be Safe…Replace, a campaign designed to provide Canton residents with the critical tools required to safeguard their families and property, and to build awareness and educate Canton residents as to their responsibilities for the upkeep of fire and CO alarms.

So on a sunny Veteran’s Day, about 20 volunteer firefighters/EMTs spent Sunday afternoon distributing nearly 100 batteries and 50 fire and/or CO alarms to residents in Collinsville, Canton, Canton Center and North Canton. All alarms, detectors and batteries were provided free of charge.

During Be Safe...Replace, volunteer firefighters found a significant amount of awareness about Daylight Saving Time being a reminder to change out batteries in fire/CO alarms.

Many residents they visited had already done so. There were others, however, who appreciated the reminder.

Firefighters replaced fire alarms from 2002, batteries from 2005 and CO detectors in various states of disrepair.

“Fire and CO alarms/detectors have a life expectancy of under 10 years,” advises Department Chief Richard Hutchings. “And batteries are an inexpensive way to ensure these tools are doing the job of protecting your family. You don’t want a false sense of security.”

During a visit to a North Canton home, the resident shared how a smoke alarm, alerting her to a kitchen fire at 2 a.m., saved her family. Smoke had already made its way into her young son’s room and was hovering over his bed.

Volunteer firefighters also found residents who weren’t as aware of the dangers of CO poisoning; and thus the need for an early warning system. Unlike fire, CO has no color or odor and can’t be detected by any of the senses. So, a CO alarm is critical.

“Nearly every week,” adds Hutchings, “we get dispatched to an alarm activation, indicating possible dangerous levels of CO in the home. It’s a lot more common than people realize. Over the years, we have even responded to homes where a Be Safe …Replace CO alarm alerted the family to the danger.”

The fall campaign for Be Safe…Replace was made possible by the generous support of Canton Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.; a social, philanthropic organization which donated $1,000 to purchase CO detectors, fire alarms and batteries.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Town of Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department can visit www.cantonfireandems.org or drop by Collinsville, North Canton or Canton firehouses on Monday evenings during the Department’s weekly practice drill at 7 p.m.

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