Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 4:13am
A two-year smoke alarm installation project ends today with the five remaining homes on the waiting list.
Since 2009, the City of Madison Fire Department has worked to install smoke alarms in single-family homes owned by older adults, and families with young children and people with disabilities. There are no additional free alarms remaining.
Every member of the Department's Prevention Unit, Command Staff, Administrative Staff, and Fire Fighters Local 311 has worked on various aspects of the project, both on-duty and off-duty.
• 6,000 alarms installed in more than 1,100 homes throughout the City.
• The replacement of hundreds of outdated and/or inoperable alarms.
Perhaps the most significant statistic is that the City has experienced only one fire fatality over the last 41 months.
The project was the result of two federal grants that came in the wake of the City's adoption of a new smoke alarm ordinance. The Department received approximately $75,000 to purchase and install smoke alarms in homes whose occupants include young children, older adults and people living with a disability.
An estimated 95% of American homes have smoke alarms. What's less clear is how many are outdated or inoperable. Smoke alarms are designed to be replaced every 10 years. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside all sleeping areas, and on every level of the home, including the basement. According to the NFPA, which develops NFPA 72, National Smoke Alarm Code®, many homes still don't have that level of protection. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths per year result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms at all or no working smoke alarms, as was the case in last August's fatal fire on the City's northeast side.
- Lori Wirth(608) 266-5947