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It's time to 'get alarmed' about fire safety
Feb 15, 2013 5:52 pm
Capt. Steve Spencer with the Wilson Emergency Management Agency wants everyone in Wilson County to get alarmed - literally.
He recently attended a seminar to encourage everyone to make sure their home has a working smoke alarm. Spencer said a state grant provided 20,000 smoke alarms to be distributed across the state as part of the "Get Alarmed Tennessee" program, and he made sure Wilson County fire departments got a share of the alarms for WEMA, along with Mt. Juliet, Lebanon and Watertown fire departments, to distribute.
"I decided to go with "Get Alarmed Wilson County" and get the word out we have 99 smoke alarms to distribute," Spencer said. "They did classes in different regions of the state, and I attended the one this week."
Not only will the fire departments be giving out free smoke alarms, they will also install them in homes to make sure they are working properly.
Friday afternoon, Spencer met with Lt. Brian Fountain with the Lebanon Fire Department and WEMA Director John Jewell, who represented the Watertown Fire Department, to discuss how each fire department will distribute the free alarms.
"We don't want to distribute them then have them sit in the box, so people from the fire departments will install them correctly for free," he noted.
"I told the other county fire departments, 'let's work together on this,'" Spencer said. "Everybody's on board."
He also said while everyone is at risk in a fire, there are two groups especially vulnerable.
"The people most at risk are the elderly and small children," Spencer said. "But anyone who doesn't have a working smoke alarm is at risk."
Having a smoke alarm greatly increases the chances families will make it through a fire in tact.
"With an alarm, people are 60 percent more likely to survive a house fire," Spencer said. "You are 80 percent more likely to survive a fire in a home with alarms and a sprinkler system."
Jewell said he's been pushing for a while to make it mandatory for any new home costing $250,000 or more to be built with a sprinkler system.
"With both, there would be no end to the lives, time and money saved," Jewell said.
Spencer said it's recommended to have more than one smoke alarm in a home - one on each level, including in stairways, in the hall between bedrooms and in the kitchen if it is at least 20 feet from appliances, so it isn't set off accidently when cooking. It is also recommended smoke alarms are tested frequently to make sure the batteries are working. The Kidde Smoke Alarms local firefighters will install for free throughout the county have batteries with 10-year lifespans.
With the Get Alarmed Wilson County program, anyone in the county can call his or her local fire department and request an alarm. The fire department will take names, addresses and phone numbers and arrange to come to the home and install the device.
"If we use all the ones we got, we can request more," Spencer said. "We will keep on installing them until we run out of people or run out of alarms."