Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Summerville Fire Department reviewed recent statistics and decided it needed to be more proactive in ensuring that the community was protected with smoke alarms.
“We looked at last year’s (2011-12) numbers – 73 smoke alarms installed – and knew we needed to do more,” said SFD Captain Jacob Evans. “We knew our numbers weren’t good enough so we just did it. We made a big effort to get to more residences to make sure they were protected.”
And they tripled their numbers.
In 2012-13, they installed 234 smoke alarms in residences that had none. In an area that is predominantly newer subdivisions, this is a big number. The newer subdivisions were mostly built after the law required smoke detectors in new builds.
This means that SFD have made sure that a large number of older homes are now protected.
Along the way, they received a grant from the BUSC Burned Children’s Fund for $500 to help pay for the smoke detectors. Lowes and Home Depot have long supported the fire department’s efforts by selling the units to them at a discount.
Firefighters take two hours a month and walked door to door checking to make sure there were smoke detectors in the residence and that they worked properly.
In addition to the new installations, firefighters have replaced 147 batteries.
Installation not enough
According to Evans, on a nation-wide scale, 96 percent of American homes have smoke detectors of which only 40 percent work.
Why? Removed or dead batteries.
It is tragic when a $4 battery costs a life and home.
Smoke detectors make that irritating beeping sound when the battery needs replacing. It should never be just taken out, but promptly replaced.
Additionally, said Evans, people should replace batteries twice a year when they change their clocks regardless of whether the battery is running out or not. It is an easy way to remember to change it and it saves lives, he said.
Anyone in the town who needs a smoke detector is urged to call the fire department at 843-873-5107 to set up a time for firefighters to come install one, check an existing detector or simply replace the batteries. It is free.
Evans says the department is thankful for the hard work of its firefighters “who have taken this seriously, even to the point where there are numerous companies that have spent more time than allotted – up to three or four hours a month – striving for safety in the community.”
Anyone with questions is urged to email or call Evans – JEvans@summervillesc.gov – or to schedule one of the many fire safety programs offered by SFD including Fire Extinguisher Training, Senior Citizen Fire and Fall Prevention, General Fire Safety and fire station tours. Trucks are also available for special events, he says.