TORONTO, June 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Family and Children's Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville will receive a Fire Safety Award from the Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council at a ceremony on June 12, 2013 in Toronto. The annual Fire Safety Awards recognize outstanding contributions to fire protection and prevention in Ontario.
Rob Wittkie, a former volunteer firefighter, and his wife Kitty Wittkie, an employee of Family and Children's Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, are well aware of the importance of fire safety to the lives of children. So much so that in 2009, they approached the Lanark County Fire Chiefs with some ideas about making the homes of vulnerable children safer from fire.
To enhance safety, Wittkie and her supervisor, Pat Finnagan, developed the following strategy to ensure client homes were being protected by working smoke alarms. When a caseworker visited a home, he/she would check for working smoke alarms. If there were none, the caseworker would supply them. If any major fire safety issues were noted, the fire department would be contacted to follow up. The idea received the fire chiefs' enthusiastic support, and the program was underway. Since the inception of this initiative, 381 smoke alarms and 96 batteries have been distributed to clients of Family and Children's Services in Lanark County.
In 2011, Rob Wittkie was called to testify at the inquest into the deaths of a mother and two children in a Toronto house fire. The Crown Attorney's office was aware of the Lanark County program and felt that, since the fire victims had been under the care of CAS, it would be of interest to the jury. As a result of those inquest recommendations, a provincial program involving Children's Aid Societies across Ontario has been implemented.
"The Family and Children's Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville has been instrumental in getting important life-saving information to those who are sometimes hard to reach," said Ted Wieclawek, Ontario Fire Marshal and Chair, Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council. "Thanks to Family and Children's Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, hundreds of families in Lanark County are now protected by working smoke alarms."
The Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council gratefully acknowledges the support of its sponsors in this event: Technical Standards and Safety Authority, The Co-operators Group, Kidde Canada Inc., Home Depot of Canada Inc., Proctor & Gamble Inc., Electrical Safety Authority, CSA Group, Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc., Roxul Inc. and Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada.
SOURCE: Fire Marshal's Public Fire Safety Council
For further information:
Carol Gravelle, Office of the Fire Marshal, 416-325-3138