According to Bracebridge’s fire chief, new homeowners not knowing how their modern fire alarms work are partly to blame for a jump in false alarms.
Of the 297 calls for service in 2021, nearly 150 were false alarms. Just over 100 false alarm calls were recorded in 2020, according to the recently released, Bracebridge Fire Department’s annual report.
Murray Medley, fire chief for the Bracebridge Fire Department, believes the new construction in the area could be the cause as some of the homes come with a monitored fire alarm.
“Part of it is that they’re not educating people who own those homes on how to use those alarms,” Medley explained to the town’s General Committee on March 8. “We’re getting a lot of alarms that are put through these monitoring companies,” he said. “Somebody has burned a piece of toast, the alarm goes off, they don’t know the process to get a hold of the monitoring company to tell them that, ‘I just burned the toast.'”
Coun. Don Smith asked if there’s a way people can prevent that from happening.
Medley said there is, but added it will likely continue to be an ongoing problem for their – and other – departments. “I don’t see us being able to alleviate it all together,” he said.
However, Medley added the department plans on starting an educational campaign aimed at new residential homeowners in hopes it minimizes the false alarms.
The other call types were: fires, cancelled calls, uncontrolled burns, power lines, gas leaks and spills, calls to assist other agencies, miscellaneous, and rescues. There were just under 40 uncontrolled burn calls in 2021, but no other call for service type hit 20.