Springfield firefighters to install free smoke detectors for seniors

The Springfield Fire/Rescue Division is looking for seniors who want new smoke detectors installed in their city homes.

Firefighters have installed hundreds of smoke detectors for free into homes of seniors, but they have dozens left to install and are having trouble finding more people.

“We’re struggling to give about the last 100 smoke alarms away,” Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal Brian Miller said.

The fire division applied for a $20,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that covered the cost and installation of about 1,000 smoke detectors for people who live in Springfield, Miller said.

They have to have the installations done by August to fulfill the grant, he said, or they might have to pay back the cost of the uninstalled smoke detectors.

Some people might not realize the smoke detectors they have in their homes now aren’t as reliable as the newer technology that’s available, Miller said.

“These new batteries and detectors are good for 10 years and can’t be tampered with,” he said.

People age 65 or older are up to four times more likely to be injured or killed in a fire, Miller said. So firefighters have focused installation in the homes of seniors.

More than 115 Ohioans died in fires in 2015, according to state data, and many of those fires were in homes that didn’t have working smoke detectors.

Springfield firefighters have partnered with the United Senior Services of Clark County to reach out to people for the installations, Miller said, but more recipients are still needed.

“Everyone is used to hearing it, but early notification is very important,” to save lives, he said.

Part of the FEMA grant requires fire safety education as part of the smoke detector installation.

Springfield residents can call the Station No. 1 at 937-324-7605 for information about the smoke alarm program.

Many fire departments in the county also have similar, smoke detectors programs for homes and families that are in need of the life-saving devices.

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