Consider this statistic. Almost three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarm or in homes where smoke alarms were not working, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
“Working smoke detectors have proven to save lives. They are nice and loud and nice and shrill. They are something to wake you out of a dead sleep,” noted Williamsburg Fire Chief Larry Todd.
Local residents living in or near Williamsburg now have the chance to reduce their chances of dying in a fire thanks to a new partnership between the Williamsburg Fire and Rescue and the Red Cross that will provide free smoke detectors that firefighters will install in your home.
“If we can do anything to help our community we are going to do it. We are now going to start taking applications for smoke detectors mostly in the city,” said Williamsburg Fire Chief Larry Todd noting that Goldbug Fire Department already has a program in place installing smoke detectors at various locations in the county.
“We are going to assist each other to make sure that people do have smoke detectors that are working in their homes.”
When residents call the fire department, firefighters will make an appointment to go to the homes and install the smoke detectors.
Todd expects the turnaround time to be two or three days in most cases depending on how long it takes to get the smoke detectors and how busy firefighters may be at a given time.
When firefighters go to the homes, they will speak to the residents about fire preparedness, and give them a magnet or decal, which will guide them through an emergency drill in their home.
“We will talk to them about how to be safe and how make a good exit from a house that is on fire kind of like we do with kids in school,” Todd noted.
Firefighters will install at least two smoke alarms inside the home and possibly more depending on the size of the residence.
The smoke detectors have 10-year batteries.
The Red Cross is providing the smoke detectors.
The program started Jan. 1.
So far firefighter Johnny Philpot has installed six smoke detectors.
Todd expects that number to increase as more people become aware of the program.
“We’ve had people in the past call about free smoke detectors. We found out about this program, and jumped all over it. Our local representative for the Red Cross, Nick Clark, is with Oak Grove Fire Department. He is a joy to work with and is very helpful and very informative,” Todd added.
Those interested in participating in the free smoke alarm program are asked to contact Williamsburg Fire and Rescue at (606) 549-6037.
In addition to having smoke detectors, Todd emphasized that it is also important for people to have a least a couple of ways to exit their home in the event of a fire.