safety for all
Everyone wants to keep their family safe. You buckle your children up in seat belts when driving in the car. You watch over them and protect them. Yet how many people take chances with the lives of their family children each day by not having a working smoke detector in the home?
Working smoke alarms are important and necessary in every household. It’s also important to practice at-home fire drills to be sure everyone is familiar with the smoke alarm signal, and to determine if there are any obstacles to a quick and safe exit.
Getting them up however, is only half the battle. Getting them up “correctly” can make a difference in valuable seconds, seconds that could save your life.
Recently, Seymour Volunteer firefighter Kent Leitch took a tour of a home in Cherokee Hills subdivision to see if the homeowner’s smoke detectors were installed property and in the correct locations. The results were surprising.
“Most people think you need to put the smoke detectors over the doorway,” stated Leitch. “The fact is the best place to install a smoke detector is on the ceiling a few feet away from the door opening.”
Leitch, who was Firefighter of the Year for the SVFD in 2003, stated that many people make mistakes when installing smoke detectors.
“It’s just about getting the word out about the proper way to install them,” stated Leitch. “They should ideally be in every bedroom and every hallway and at least one smoke detector on each floor in the home. People also need to look in their chimneys and have them cleaned on a regular basis. Soot from dirty chimneys can catch fire and chimneys need regular maintenance, just as smoke detectors do.”
While the SVFD is a volunteer department, they do offer assistance with families not having smoke detectors in their home or those individuals needing help in placement of smoke detectors. The fire department welcomes and appreciates donations which can be mailed to the SVFD at PO Box 911, Seymour, TN 37865 or you can call 573-7475 for more information.
In Gatlinburg, help is also available. “On request we will come out and check a home and look at the smoke detectors to see if they are working property. We also have a program where we can give out smoke detectors,” stated Joe Galentine, who works as a firefighter and paramedic for the Gatlinburg Department. Gatlinburg is made up of both volunteer and paid staff. For more information on the Gatlinburg Fire Department’s services you can call 436-5112.
In Pigeon Forge, where the fire department is also made up of both paid and volunteer firefighters, the same is true. “Any time anyone has a concern we will come out and check on them,” stated Fire Inspector Roger Price. “We have some smoke detectors we received through a grant and we will come out and install it for anyone that needs it. They just need to call 429-7381.”
In Sevierville, Fire Marshall Tommy White stated, “If we have someone request then we will go out, and we will supply smoke detectors for the needy and elderly.” The Sevierville Fire Department is made up of paid staff and the fire department station also houses the Sevier County Volunteer Fire Department. They can be reached at 453-9276.
Please remember that smoke detectors are given to the needy. Most smoke detectors today can be purchased from $5-$10, a small price to pay for this life-saving equipment. When picking up smoke detectors for your home, why not pick up a couple of extra and donate them to the fire department near you for a needy family.