The stipends were offered to fire departments that participate in HFSC’s Built for Life® fire department program. The program is free and provides support, resources and materials for Canadian and American fire departments that make home fire sprinkler education a focus of their community outreach. Qualifying fire-department applicants were required to explain how they would use the demonstration unit as part of a community education event and how they would evaluate the activity.
“As an insurance company, we see first-hand the tragic consequences of house fires, and we know what a difference fire sprinklers can make,” said Maya Milardovic, director of government relations with The Co-operators.
“If sprinkler systems were installed in every newly built home, Canadians and their property would be much better protected. We feel the outreach and education fire departments can do with the stipend program in their communities is invaluable.”
The side-by-side fire and sprinkler demonstrations supported by HFSC Canada involve two identical rooms that are constructed with matching furnishings; both have smoke alarms, but only one contains a fire sprinkler. A fire is lit in each room so the audience can see how quickly the fire grows until flashover occurs. Flashover is when fire spreads to all the contents in the room. Viewers can then see the difference when the sprinkler activates and controls or extinguishes the fire. When both fires are extinguished, viewers can see the dramatic difference between the two rooms.
Stipend supports demonstration in Greenstone
The Municipality of Greenstone in northern Ontario used the stipend to conduct its first side-by-side demonstration on Oct. 13. Even though there was 16 centimetres of snow on the ground and the temperature was -4 C, residents came from across the region to see the demonstration.
Greenstone covers more than 2,700 square kilometres. Fire Chief Jim Runciman says it can sometimes take volunteer firefighters from one of Greenstone’s six stations 30 to 40 minutes to respond to a call. With a lengthy response time, Runciman wanted to educate people about home fire sprinklers.
Runciman said that during the demonstration he spoke with one homeowner who is renovating and interested in installing sprinklers to better protect the home and family.
Greenstone will continue to promote the importance of fire sprinklers and plans to share its side-by-side unit with two other municipalities for demonstrations.
Other fire departments that received a stipend from HFSC are:
- Port Hope Fire Department and Emergency Services
- King Fire and Emergency Services
- Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services
- Orillia Fire Department
- Greater Madawaska Fire Department
- Pitt Meadows Fire and Rescue Services
- Campbell River Fire Department
- New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services
- Miramichi Fire Department
- Red Deer County Fire Services
- Cape Breton Regional Fire Services