NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) — National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 9-15. A working smoke alarm could be the difference between life and death and there’s a statewide program underway to install thousands of smoke alarms in homes across Tennessee.
When the weather cools down, unfortunately, the fire risk goes up, and everything from space heaters to candles are often to blame.
“In cold weather months, you are going to see, tragically, an increase in home fires. We want to decrease the number of fire fatalities,” said Kevin Walters, spokesperson for the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Walters said smoke detectors are key. Having one in your home doubles your chances of surviving a fire, especially for those most vulnerable.
“People being very young and very old contributes to them being unable to escape a home fire, so having a smoke alarm that will wake you up, and having an escape plan that your family and that home’s occupants know about, can make the difference in saving lives,” said Walters.
Firefighters want to make smoke alarms as accessible as possible. With help from a grant, this year they plan to install 5,000 smoke alarms and 530 carbon monoxide detectors in homes across Tennessee for free.
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“Older homes are typically the ones where we are going to be focusing on, because they are going to be the homes that typically don’t have, as we’ve found, working smoke alarms,” Walters said.
In the ten years this smoke alarm program has been running, it’s credited for saving 335 lives. And Hendersonville Fire Chief Scotty Bush is proud of that success.
“Out of those 300 cases, we had two documented cases here in Hendersonville that we saved lives due to early detection with a smoke detector that we installed,” said Chief Bush.
Chief Bush is planning a smoke alarm canvas in early November helping out folks in Hendersonville that need the life-saving devices most. “A great opportunity for us to get out in the public, and make a difference in people’s lives.”
Most fire deaths happen overnight while people are sleeping. If you need a smoke alarm installed, you can reach out to your local fire department. You should have a smoke alarm on every level of your home.