NASHVILLE – Smoke alarms installed as part of the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) “Get Alarmed” program are credited with saving 174 Tennesseans from fire danger over the past four years. The latest confirmed incidents bring the number of documented saves in 2016 to 46—a new state record. Previously, the most saves documented in a year were 43 in 2015.
The Get Alarmed program, launched in November 2012, is responsible for the distribution of over 141,000 free smoke alarms statewide. Nearly 500 fire department and community outreach partners work to install the 10-year battery alarms for residents in need. The life-saving program takes special focus during the high-risk winter months when fire fatalities historically increase.
“Working smoke alarms should be a part of every home, “ said State Fire Marshal and Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “Going without these early detection devices is a risk that no consumer should take, especially during the winter season when the colder temperatures cause a rise in fire-related deaths and injuries. We remind Tennessee residents that they can easily request a free smoke alarm by visiting tn.gov/fire.”
The latest documented “Get Alarmed” save occurred in Memphis during the early morning hours of December 30, 2016. The Memphis Fire Department (MFD) responded to a single family house fire with smoke visible upon arrival. All four residents, including three adults and one child, managed to escape safely after being alerted to the fire by a state-supplied smoke alarm installed by MFD in February 2013. The cause of the fire was determined to be a space heater that was positioned too close to combustible material. Damage to the home was estimated at $30,000.
“Heating fires are a major reason for the increase in fires and fire deaths during the winter period,” said TDCI Deputy Commissioner Gary West. ”Tennesseans need to know that fire moves quickly and fatal fires often occur in the night when we’re most vulnerable. Smoke alarms enhance early fire warning and can mean the difference between life and death. Protect your family and your property by making fire safety a priority today and every day.”
The SFMO encourages Tennesseans to utilize the following safety precautions to avoid common winter fire hazards and help prevent fire-related deaths:
Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
Check electrical cords for space heaters and other appliances to make sure they are not frayed or damaged.
Never use your oven to heat your home.
Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
Replace alarms that are 10 years old or older.
Make a home fire escape plan. Have two ways out of every room in the home if possible and a designated outside meeting place.
Tennessee residents can request a free smoke alarm by visiting http://www.tn.gov/fire. For more information on making your home fire-safe, download and print the State Fire Marshal’s home fire safety checklist.
– See more at: http://www.tn.gov/news/48413#sthash.07hlKrcH.dpuf