Fire department going door-to-door with smoke alarms
By Wes Wade | (email@example.com)
The Blount County Fire Department has taken to the streets to ensure that every home in the county has a working smoke alarm.
While every year the department offers free smoke alarms, installations and checks, it’s been a couple of years since they’ve gone door-to-door. But with a recent FEMA grant that’s sending smoke detectors to counties in the state with a high risk of fire deaths, the department has decided to get back out to hitting the streets to get those alarms into homes, said Blount County Fire Captain Tim Ogle.
“We decided to just kind of saturate a couple neighborhoods,” Ogle said. “(We’ve) been knocking door-to-door.”
The department began receiving smoke alarms from the grant on Monday and started their saturation effort Tuesday. By Wednesday night, firefighters had gone knocking on 110 doors in areas including Beulah Drive, Michelle Place, Kian Court, Jody Lane and Glenn Echo Drive.
At the end of Wednesday a total of 40 smoke detectors had been installed and 26 batteries put into detectors that, upon closer inspection, were found to no longer be working.
Firefighters had planned to visit another 50 or so homes by the end of the week.
Blount County Fire Chief Doug McClanahan mentioned the department has been doing free checks and installations since the 1980s. But it’s rare to have an opportunity with state-provided gear, he said, and they’re taking full advantage of that opportunity.
“When we got money from the state we wanted to get them out quickly,” McClanahan said. “(We’re) targeting neighborhoods with kids, older folks, neighborhoods with a high turnover of people moving in and out.”
McClanahan said it also gives firefighters a chance to talk to residents about fire safety, carbon monoxide detectors and the best place to put their alarms — near the bedrooms where residents are more likely to hear them in case of a fire. Captain Tim Ogle, who’s been involved with a Safe Kids organization in Knoxville which hosts free child safety seat clinics, was even able to answer questions one couple had about child restraint laws and what kind of seat their child should be riding in.
McClanahan said he’s also contacted the cities of Louisville and Rockford to offer alarms to residents there.
“(The program) will never end,” McClanahan said. “This just gives us an extra opportunity of having more smoke alarms (to give) ... we don’t need smoke alarms sitting on shelves. We need them in homes, doing their job.”
The alarms the state is sending are lithium battery alarms that require no maintenance for 10 years. Anyone needing a smoke alarm can contact the Blount County Fire Protection District at 865-983-2133.
McClanahan added that anyone looking to subscribe to fire protection service for $110 a year to call the same number.