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Dear Home Owners of the Township of Athens,

Every year in Ontario, people die in fires that could have been prevented. These fires occur in homes and communities just like ours. Tragically, in many of these fatal fires, there is no smoke alarm warning to alert the occupants and give them the precious seconds they need to safely escape.

As Fire Chief of the Township of Athens Fire Department, I am very disturbed by these facts because I Know that most home fires can be prevented by taking care when cooking, smoking, using candles or heating your home.

I also know that most of those lives could have been saved if the homeowner had installed smoke alarms in their homes and kept them in good working order. The Township of Athens Fire Department will do everything within our power to prevent a fire tragedy from happening in The Township of Athens.

I urge all residents of the Township of Athens to make sure they have working smoke alarms on every storey of their home and outside all sleeping areas. This is the law in Ontario and this fire department will be enforcing it.

For homeowners, tenants and individual landlords, non-compliance with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirement will result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $50,000. Compare this with the cost of a smoke alarm, which can be as little as $10.

When someone dies in a fire, it is a tremendous loss to the family, the fire department and the entire community. I never want to read in the pages of the newspaper about a resident of The Township of Athens dying in a fire.

Help protect yourself and your family from fire by installing the required number of smoke alarms, testing them every month and replacing the batteries once a year.

Anyone who has questions about smoke alarms or other fire safety issues are welcome to contact the Fire Department at 613.924.2127