It is widely accepted that having a smoke alarm increases one’s chances of surviving a house fire by more than 50 percent.
Despite that, firefighters often go to calls where the residence either doesn’t have a detector at all or, perhaps worse, has at least one but with a dead battery.
Smoke detectors are inexpensive, usually less than $10 apiece, so there is really no excuse for not buying at least one.
Surely, one’s life and the life of a family are worth a sawbuck.
But if even that amount is too much for some, the city and county fire departments are trying to help them out.
The departments have received more than 200 smoke detectors that are being given away free on a first-come first-served basis, and firefighters are even installing them for people. The only real requirement is that the recipient own his or her home rather than rent but the focus is on homes with low-income residents, elderly, homes with children or with disabled persons.
Firefighters will even install the alarms for residents.
The detectors are bound to save lives.
For that matter, small fire extinguishers are also inexpensive and quite capable of stopping small blazes. Only slightly more expensive are weather radios, most under $20.
The newer models have battery backups in case the power goes off, can be set to alarm for only a specific local area also cut down on false alarms.
Then there is CodeRED, which alerts very specific small areas of impending severe weather, and it is free in our county.
For well under $100, one can be protected against fire, carbon monoxide and sudden severe weather.
There should be no excuse for anyone’s not taking advantage of these tools.
But for those for whom even no excuse won’t work, the fire department is to be praised for going out of is way to protect lives and property through this program.