DEWITT TOWNSHIP (WLNS) – Sunday, October 3rd kicks off the start of Fire Prevention Week with experts focusing on reminding people to have working smoke alarms at home. A beeping smoke alarm in the middle of the night might be tempting to pull out the battery to make it stop. But Fire Inspector Michael Roberts with Delta Township Fire Department says don’t do it.
“It’s still very concerning how many times we have a smoke alarm issue or we have a fire and there are still not working smoke alarms in a home,” he said.
He said that people often just forget to install smoke alarms or replace the batteries. Roberts has some advice on where to place your smoke detector.
“…away from the wall, away from the exhaust fans, ductwork, ceiling fans. So that they can detect smoke the quickest, ” he said, “we personally like them up in the ceiling”.
Delta Township Fire Department recommends changing your smoke detector batteries every six months. A good rule of thumb is when you change your clocks during your daylight savings time you should also change the batteries on your smoke detectors.
But fire prevention week isn’t just a reminder to check your smoke detectors, it’s also about making sure you’re doing your part to keep firefighters safe.
“The number two cause of firefighter fatalities in the United States is vehicle accidents. And so we want to come out and make sure that everybody understands that what we do is dangerous, even when we are driving to emergencies, trying to get to people who are asking for our help,” Roberts said.
Fire safety expert Michael McLeieer says distractions like phones or loud music can keep drivers from noticing fire trucks on the road until it’s too late.
“Part of the problem today is that our vehicles today are much better insulated than what they ever used to be. And if we have a stereo on, we have the air conditioner on, or what have you, we might not necessarily hear that emergency sirens or see those flashing lights,” he said.
Roberts said first responders are more likely to get into a crash on the way to a scene. He hopes drivers remember a simple tip.
“Pull over to the right. Let that emergency traffic go by so that we can keep the community safe and you can help keep us safe,” he said.