‘Hire Licensed Electrical Contractors’ Advises Fire Chief

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Fire chiefs and electricians/contractors team up to promote safety

This month we’ve launched a new campaign, and the partnership – as well as the commercials – are unique.

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) has teamed up with the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario (ECAO) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Construction Council of Ontario (IBEW CCO) to help keep more families safe in their homes.

“We’re so excited to be working with ECAO and IBEW,” says OACF president Fire Chief Cynthia Ross Tustin. “It’s a collaboration of experts.”

This month, two commercials will be running on major television networks and promoted through social media as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of hiring a licensed electrical contractor and ensuring the public maintains working smoke alarms in their homes.

Listen to the Chief – Don’t Trust this Guy

Instead of citing statistics about the number of deaths and homes destroyed from electrical fires, the first commercial kicks off in a basement. A handyman assures the audience you don’t need to hire an electrician as he does electrical work like this “all the time.”

As the camera focuses on the botched job, the wall opens up into a fire hall, where Chief Tustin marches in to warn the audience.

“Do you want to trust your home and your family’s safety to this guy? Always call a licensed electrician so you don’t have to call us,” she says.

“Ontario’s fire chiefs were the ideal partners for this campaign. because they see the tragic results from house fires. Our IBEW electricians and ECAO contractors put a high priority on ensuring that work is done safely and correctly: we have the same concerns about public safety,” said Sherri Haigh, who led the campaign on behalf of the ECAO and IBEW CCO.

“One fire due to improper electrical work is one too many,”

– Richard Boyes, Executive Director, OAFC

Many people think that even small rewiring jobs can be completed by a jack-of-all-trades contractor or through a DIY video, saving them money in the process. But improper rewiring and installations can lead to devastating and tragic electrical fires, said Richard Boyes, Executive Director of OAFC

“One fire due to improper electrical work is one too many,” he added.

An Electrical Contractors License entails having a Designated Master Electrician on staff, WSIB coverage, an ECRA license, and business liability insurance.  A licensed electrician or master electrician can only work for a contractor and not solicit work for themselves unless they meet that criteria. These are the things to look for when hiring someone to complete electrical work.

Keeping Batteries in Smoke Alarms at All Times

The second commercial takes place in a kitchen and captures the all-too-often circumstance where a smoke alarm goes off in the house due to burnt toast or another cooking mishap.

“Unfortunately, many homeowners respond to that noise by taking the batteries out while they finish cooking: but then they neglect to put them back in. Should a real fire occur, that smoke alarm won’t be working,” said Chief Tustin.

“It’s something we see every day and want to prevent,” she added.

“Smoke is the silent killer, and it will get you faster than you think,” says Boyes. “You only have a short time to leave a house after a fire starts. Early detection is key.”

Always leave the batteries in your smoke alarm, and don’t forget to change them every six months with the time change. “Change the hour, change the power,” adds Chief Tustin.

Putting Homeowners’ Safety First

“It was exciting to participate in these commercials. We’d like to build on them to create more content that resonates with homeowners as that is the best way to change behavior,” said Chief Tustin.

For more information on fire safety, visit OAFC