Fire Department finds too many homes are without working smoke d - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Fire Department finds too many homes are without working smoke detectors

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How often do you check your smoke alarm? Or is the better question, do you even have smoke alarms?

"Statistics show that your chances of surviving a fire in your home are double if you have smoke detectors and if you have the adequate number in the home," says Berrien Springs Fire Chief, Bruce Stover. 

Which is why the Berrien Springs Fire Department launched a program that offers free smoke alarms and installation. They're six weeks in and Stover says he's surprised at how many homes needed installs. "When I wrote the grant based on past figures, I estimated about three per home were going to be needed and it turns out we're putting in almost six per home."

Not only is he finding that homes don't have enough alarms, but many are out-dated or they don't have working batteries. "They think they're being protected and they're not because they're either too old-when they get up past 10 years they're not as efficient-and of course if they quit working because of dead batteries, then they aren't working at all."

He says the numbers are shocking. "We found the situation was worse than we thought."

Which is why he says they started this program and hope to give even more detectors away.

In Clay township, Fire Marshal Dave Cherrone says the numbers aren't as alarming. "Last year we probably put in less detectors than we had the previous couple of years."

They've been offering free installed smoke detectors for over ten years. "They do more of the battery replacement than they do the smoke alarm replacement."

While an alarm with no battery is no good, he believes people are slowly becoming aware of the need for adequate smoke alarms. "They're realizing it is pretty cheap insurance."

Both departments offer free dual senor smoke alarms and installations.

If you want an alarm from the Berrien Springs Oronoko Fire Department, call 269-473-3731.

For the Clay Fire Department, call 574-272-2144.

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