NASHVILLE – The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) announces that smoke alarms installed as part of the “Get Alarmed” program are credited with saving 208 Tennesseans from fire danger over the past five years.
This program takes special focus during the high-risk winter months when the colder temperatures cause a dramatic rise in fire-related deaths and injuries. In marking this milestone, the SFMO renews its call that Tennesseans make fire safety a priority this winter, which is the peak season for residential fires.
“We are proud of the impact the ‘Get Alarmed’ initiative continues to have on reducing fire fatalities in the Volunteer State, “ said State Fire Marshal and Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “With two more months of winter still ahead, we urge Tennesseans to install working smoke alarms on every level of their homes and create a fire escape plan.”
Launched in November 2012, the “Get Alarmed” program is responsible for distributing over 163,000 free smoke alarms statewide and installing over 129,000 alarms. Over 50,000 Tennessee homes have received alarms through “Get Alarmed.” More than 500 fire department and community outreach partners install the 10-year battery alarms for residents in need.
The latest documented “Get Alarmed” saves include the following incidents:
- January 2, 2018: The Huntland Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) responded to a fire at a single family home at 12:49 AM. Three residents were asleep in the home when the smoke alarms alerted them to the fire. The daughter ran to a neighbor’s house to call 911. The house was a total loss, but no injuries were reported. The alarms were installed by Huntland VFD in August 2015.
- January 4, 2018: The Tullahoma Fire Department (FD) responded to a fire started by an electrical malfunction at a single family home at 6:37 AM. The resident was alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm installed by Tullahoma FD in January 2017. Approximately $20,000 of damage was reported in the fire.
- January 18, 2018: The Atoka FD responded to a fire started by a dishwasher at a single family home at 8:27 PM. The resident was alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm installed by Munford FD in March 2015. Approximately $3000 of damage was reported in the fire.
- January 18, 2018: The Maryville FD responded to a fire started by an electrical malfunction at a single family home at 12:28 AM. The resident was alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm installed by Maryville FD in December 2014. The resident had escaped the home by the time the fire department arrived. There was $21,100 damage reported in the home and it was considered a total loss. The resident did have injuries sustained in the fire, but survived.
“Incidents like these continue to prove that smoke alarms can and will save lives,” said TDCI Deputy Commissioner Gary West. ”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:
- 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. Practice the plan with everyone who lives in the home.
- 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.
For more home fire safety information or to download a free copy of the 2018 Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office calendar, visit tn.gov/fire.