Tuesday evening’s annual BIA dinner featured a number of speakers addressing the audience on the topic of safety. First on the agenda was Fire Prevention Officer Eydie Vandenberg who opened her talk with a short video illustrating the importance of early detection in a fire event. After a fatality in a semi-detached home, Fire staff had a unique opportunity to stage a duplicate event in the adjoining residence to develop a better understanding of the process of the fire. In the staged fire, they determined that with the single smoke alarm in the upper level of the home, residents had only 30 seconds to make a safe escape. At that moment, the temperature of the lower level was 40 degrees Celsius, but when the door opened for the family to leave the building, oxygen fueled the flames pushing the temperature to 700 degrees within 30 seconds. Within three minutes of the start of the fire, it had reached the flashover stage which no one can survive and the temperature had hit 900 degrees. In addition to demonstrating the importance of the strategic placement of working smoke detectors, the presentation made the poignant point to hold onto small children during an escape, as the fatality in the original fire was a child who was exiting with his father but had fled back to his room in fear.
The second presentation was from Jason Kenny of Nexicom. He outlined the many security products and services offered by his employer, including surveillance equipment and alarms as well as new smart home features that allow remote operation of equipment. They also have sensor systems which can detect water and temperature swings which allow early intervention for vacationers when things go wrong at home.
Finally, Inspector Dan Smith of the Peterborough Police Services spoke about the role of his organization in the community. With six weeks of service in Cavan Monaghan Township, the organization is pleased with the reception they have received and the progress they are making in establishing working relationships in the community. The organization had five core functions: crime prevention, law enforcement, victim assistance, maintaining public order and emergency response. For residents, Inspector Smith drove home that crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility. He encouraged citizens take basic precautions such as using lights, locks, cameras and alarms and stressed the importance of being good neighbours by being vigilant and communication concerns quickly. They have one Community Patrol Officer in the township 24 hours a day, and a second one 12 hours a day, with immediate back-up officers available at all times. Their traffic unit is recognized for its targeted enforcement and the force also has staff trained in crisis intervention and mental health calls. The Peterborough Police force embraces the philosophy of the father of modern policing, Sir Robert Peel, who said “The police are the community and the community is the police.”
The presentations were consistent in the message that our safety is our responsibility, and provided tools and techniques to better equip us to keep ourselves and our community a safer place for all.