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Get Alarmed: TN Fire Departments to Distribute Smoke Alarms

This week is Fire Prevention Week, and the state Fire Marshal's Office is working with local fire departments to distribute and install smoke detectors and remind people of the importance of changing the batteries in your smoke detector. Credit: kconnors/morguefile.com
This week is Fire Prevention Week, and the state Fire Marshal's Office is working with local fire departments to distribute and install smoke detectors and remind people of the importance of changing the batteries in your smoke detector. Credit: kconnors/morguefile.com
October 7, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In the past three years, the state Fire Marshal's Office and its partners have distributed 88,000 smoke detectors that officials say have saved the lives of 106 people. This weekend, the state is challenging 10 local fire departments to install at least 100 smoke alarms within a 24-hour period.

Spokesman Kevin Walters said alarms will be distributed from Memphis to Pigeon Forge and local departments are publicizing the distribution to their communities.

"If they're in one of those communities and they don't have an alarm," he said, "they could reach out to one of our fire-prevention partners in those communities and we will try our best to get a smoke alarm installed in their home."

It's not enough for your home to have one working smoke alarm, Walters said; every bedroom should be equipped with one since sleep is a factor in nearly one-third of fire deaths. In the most recent analysis done by the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association and other community groups, the number of fire deaths was on the increase in the state while the number nationally is declining.

For homes that already have the proper number of smoke detectors, Walters said, this is the month to change the batteries because in the event of a fire, every second counts.

"The point is to get out the house as fast as you can," he said. "The alarm sounds and you should be leaving the house as quickly as possible. We want people to know how they would get out of their house in the event of a fire and to have a meeting point for their family members."

There are higher fire death rates in states with larger percentages of populations in poverty, lower levels of formal education and higher proportions that live in rural areas.

Smoke alarms will be distributed this weekend by fire departments in Memphis, Paris, Madison County, Ripley, Mount Pleasant, Manchester, Cookeville, South Greene, Cocke County and Pigeon Forge.

The Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association report is online at tnfirechiefs.com.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN