SFD helps sound the fire prevention alarm

SALEM – It started 19 years ago and runs strong today.

The free smoke detector program sponsored by the International Association of Firefighters Local (IAFF) 283 maintains its goal that there is at least one working smoke detector installed in each home inside the city.

The program was started in 1994 when IAFF Local 283 – which represents Salem firefighters – made an initial donation of $100. Since then, many businesses and individuals have contributed in helping it install over 900 smoke detectors.

On Saturday the Home Depot on East State Street donated 100 Firex (Kidde) smoke detectors with 10-year lithium-ion batteries, according to Bill Fleese, manager of Home Depot’s electrical department. Normal protocol is to check and change smoke-detector batteries when clocks are switched on and off daylight savings time.

The Salem Home Depot was part of a five-state, 220-store region that sold $1 million worth of smoke detectors. The store was number one in its district, something Salem Fire Department Inspector Mike Burns said considering Salem’s size was impressive.

“There are a lot of unnecessary fires this time of year,” said Fleese, speaking on behalf of the store. He said the Salem Home Depot was one of only two stores mentioned by the company when making the awards. The National Fire Prevention Association NFPA) teamed up with The Home Depot and the Kidde fire equipment manufacturer during Fire Prevention Week in October as part of a sales contest. Store associates in the top-selling stores are rewarded with the ability to donate smoke alarms to their local fire department.

The IAFF said its program is not been funded by any tax dollars, and has been supported entirely by donations. In Salem, the program is available to city residents only. Landlords are required to provide smoke detectors for their tenants.

The program allows for one smoke detector to be installed. Additional detectors may be installed with a donation to the Salem Fire Department Smoke Detector Fund. Firefighters will install or assist in the installation of the detectors.

Firefighters educate the public and advise it that a fire will generate smoke before any flames are visible and before residents can feel any heat. That is why smoke detectors should be a resident’s first defense against fire. Once a fire breaks out there is only a matter of minutes to escape before the toxic fumes given off will overcome someone. A working smoke detector along with a good emergency plan will increase of survival.

Residents who do not have a working smoke detector you can call the non-emergency number at the Salem Fire Department (330-337-3053) and request a smoke detector.

Names are placed on a list and arrangements will be made for a member of the Salem Fire Department to come to your residence and install the detector. This will usually take place after 5 p.m. on weekdays and during the day on weekends.