Smoke alarm blitz successful in Darlington

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

Firefighters risk their lives to save others. It is a part of the job, something their families worry about constantly, and the cost they pay to fulfill the part of the calling that each firefighter is seemingly born with.

But, not all fires have happy ending or dramatic rescue. And sadly, many people that could have been saved perish before firefighters can get to them because their homes were not equipped with a smoke alarm.

DFD firefighter Will Kiker installing a smoke alarm. Photo by Samantha Lyles

DFD firefighter Will Kiker installing a smoke alarm.
Photo by Samantha Lyles

On Saturday, January 30, the City of Darlington Fire Department and their young future fire fighters, the Explorer Scouts teamed up with Red Cross workers to install 100 smoke alarms – with 10 year lithium batteries -in the Darlington communities around 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Streets and Avenues A through E.

Along the way, they took the time to share tips on fire safety with residents, and how to formulate plans of exit in the event of a fire.
Homes with pre-existing fire alarms were tested, and caution was given to homeowners and renter to keep fresh batteries installed.

To smoke alarm blitz was originally scheduled for January 19 and 23, but icy weather pushed the event back.

Smoke alarms were also given out in October during a community clean up day.

Smoke alarms are an integral part of a home fire safety plan. Smoke can spread very quickly and can incapacitate people in a matter of minutes, so keep your smoke alarms in good condition to provide the earliest possible warning. Those extra moments could mean the difference between life and death.

The National Fire Protection Association offers the following checklist to ensure your home is adequately protected:

• Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.

Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.

• It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms.

• Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.

• There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.

• A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.

• People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.

• Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

• Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.

Plan your escape
Your ability to get out of your house during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning.

• Get everyone in your household together and make a home escape plan. Walk through your home and look for two ways out of every room.

• Make sure escape routes are clear of debris and doors and windows open easily. Windows with security bars or grills should have an emergency release device.

• Plan an outside meeting place where everyone will meet once they have escaped. A good meeting place is something permanent, like a tree, light pole, or mailbox a safe distance in front of the home.

• If there are infants, older adults, family members with mobility limitations or children who do not wake to the sound of the smoke alarm, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the event of an emergency.

• If the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Respond quickly – get up and go, remember to know two ways out of every room, get yourself outside quickly, and go to your outside meeting place with your family.

Author: Duane Childers

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