As part of a community-wide fire prevention effort, firefighters from the Danbury, Connecticut Fire Department and members of the Community Risk Reduction Office of the Fire Marshal will visit local residents on Saturdays to install smoke detectors as needed and perform inspections on existing smoke detectors.
The Danbury campaign is part of an effort to reach out to local residents, including seniors, young people, and residents of neighborhoods, who are especially vulnerable to fire injury deaths. Installing smoke detectors in the homes of Danbury residents who don’t have them will increase their odds of surviving a home fire as well as reduce the risks to firefighters in search and rescue efforts. With working smoke detectors present, more citizens will safely self-evacuate and reduce the need for interior search and rescue operations. These are a primary source for firefighter injuries in fire suppression operations.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the international nonprofit safety advocate and official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 80 years, roughly 70 percent of home fire deaths in the country result from fires in homes with no smoke detectors or no working smoke detectors. “Smoke detectors are the most effective early warning device there is,” says Sharon Gamache, executive director of NFPA’s Center for High-Risk Outreach. “Just having a smoke detector in your home cuts your chance of dying in a fire nearly in half.”
“Our goal is to make sure all residents have the protection of a smoke detector,” says Geoff Herald, Chief of the Danbury Fire Department. “Because smoke detectors alone won’t prevent every fire death, our project includes educating residents to have a home fire escape plan so they know what to do if the smoke detector sounds.”
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says that the need to protect citizens and firefighters is tantamount. Leveraging a significant federal grant with tax dollars is an efficient use of this money as it will add to the protection and survival of our citizens.
During the smoke alarm installation program, local firefighters and fire marshals will fan out through the area, visiting residents in various neighborhoods. Residents who wish to schedule a home visit should call the Community Risk Reduction Office of the Fire Marshal at (203)796-1541. Program development assistance for the installation project has been provided by the Hispanic Center. Funding for the program was provided by a Fire Prevention and Safety grant from FEMA and the City of Danbury.
“Fire can grow and spread through a home in a matter of minutes,” says Judy Comoletti, NFPA’s assistant vice president for public education. “That’s why the advance warning provided by smoke alarms can be essential to saving lives. By participating in this community smoke alarm installation, Danbury Fire Department is helping to ensure that local residents are safer in their homes.”