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Smoke Free Housing Partnership with Kapuskasing Fire Department

Kapuskasing, Ontario— Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Smoking, a leading cause of fatal residential fires in Ontario. Smoke-free homes and multi-unit dwelling can save lives.

October 8 to 14 is Fire Prevention Week. The Kapuskasing Fire Department and the Porcupine Health Unit are encouraging residents to take action to reduce the risk of house fires and potential fatalities. 

“Homes can be completely engulfed in flames in a matter of minutes,” says Pat Kennedy, General Manager of Protective Services & Fire Chief. “As fires can spread quickly, it is important for people to reduce their risk by not smoking in their homes and to dispose of their butts safely when smoking outside.”

During Fire Prevention Week, the Kapuskasing Fire Department will be running a campaign called Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out™ where they will be encouraging people to plan and test two escape routes in case of a fire.

According to the Fire Loss Statistics from the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, 7% of residential fires in Ontario from 2011 to 2015 were caused by smokers’ articles such as lit cigarettes, pipes and cigars.

“Smoking inside the home exposes everyone to second-hand smoke,” says Joanne Bennett, Public Health Nurse with the Porcupine Health Unit. “Second-hand smoke increases health risks to everyone exposed to it.” She encourages landlords and tenants “to adopt smoke-free policies to make their buildings a safer and healthier place to live.”

According to a 2014 report by the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, 89% of adults in Ontario think that smoking should not be allowed in multi-unit housing. Bennett adds that smoke-free polices are healthy, legal and in demand and can significantly improve the overall well-being of those living in multi-unit dwellings.

Currently in Kapuskasing and surrounding areas, the Health Unit is aware of at least 15 multi-unit rental buildings that have implemented smoke-free policies, equalling approximately 155 smoke-free units. According to Bennett, “Given the large percentage of Ontarians wishing to live in smoke-free housing, supply at present is not meeting demand.”

For more information about the Kapuskasing Fire Department and the Fire Prevention week campaign visit – www.facebook.com/kapfire. For information about smoke-free policies visit smokefreehousingon.ca or call the Porcupine Health Unit at 705-335-6101 ext. 6202.

The Porcupine Health Unit is located in Northeastern Ontario, serving the entire Cochrane District and Hornepayne, in the Algoma District. The main office is located in Timmins, Ontario, with branch offices in Cochrane, Hearst, Hornepayne, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Matheson, Moosonee and Smooth Rock Falls.