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Nanaimo firefighters help with fire prevention, one house at a time

Firefighters will go door-knocking to check for working smoke alarms during Fire Prevention Week
Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters Randy Geddes, left, and Riel Gibson are two of Nanaimo’s firefighters who will be going door-to-door during Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, to make sure homes have life-saving smoke alarms. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)

Nanaimo’s firefighters are pounding the pavement in a post-pandemic effort to prevent injuries and deaths from fire.

Throughout Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters are encouraging residents to follow this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, ‘Fire won’t wait – plan your escape.’

Firefighters are also knocking on doors to make sure homes have working smoke alarms.

“We’re getting back to our door-to-door, which we’ve done in the past. The crews go door-to-door and knock on the door and ask if [residents] have a smoke alarm, if they need it checked,” said Geoff Whiting, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief of operations.

Each year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, firefighters would canvass specific Nanaimo neighbourhoods. This year they’ll be checking to make sure Protection Island residents are fully protected.

“It’s particularly important over there because there’s a delayed response to get over there for us,” he said.

Smoke alarm checks on Protection Island will happen Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 11-12. Residents who do not have smoke alarms can request smoke alarm checks and even have Nanaimo Fire Rescue install smoke alarms in homes that don’t have them.

“We’re pushing that. Smoke alarms save lives and we want to make sure everybody has one,” Whiting said.

Smoke alarm checks can be requested through the City of Nanaimo’s website city services page.

October is also Emergency Preparedness Month in Nanaimo when the public is encouraged to prepare emergency kits to survive for up to seven days in the event of a major storm, fire, earthquake or other major disaster that could disrupt electric power, water and transportation infrastructure and prevent emergency services from reaching homes for up to seven days.

On Thursday, Oct. 20, plan to drop, cover and hold on for the Great B.C. ShakeOut earthquake drill, which will be broadcast on local radio stations. To register as a participant in the program, visit

The city will also send out a test alert on the Voyent Alert system, Tuesday, Oct. 25. Residents who haven’t signed up to receive emergency alerts can do so by visiting

Keep up to date on messaging about emergency tests and programs throughout October on the City of Nanaimo Facebook page, on Twitter and Instagram feeds @cityofnanaimo and on the city’s website at

“We encourage you to prepare and emergency kit, participate in the earthquake drill and sign up for the city’s Voyent Alert emergency system to stay informed,” said Tim Doyle, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief, in a city press release. “We also want to stress the importance of having working smoke alarms and creating a detailed escape plan with your family and roommates.”

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Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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