“We’re grateful to the Florissant Rotary Club for its generous support of our efforts to make sure every home in Hazelwood is protected with a smoke detector,” said Chief Matthies, Hazelwood Fire Department. “This donation allows us to purchase enough new smoke detectors and fresh batteries to have on hand for this community-wide campaign.”
Matthies went on to say that approximately 25 percent of the homes in Hazelwood either don’t have a smoke detector or have one that doesn’t work. “This is an issue of public safety because statistics show that smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in home fires by nearly 50 percent,” Matthies added.
The Hazelwood Fire Department is partnering with two other fire protection agencies, Robertson and Florissant Valley, on this Smoke Detector and Battery Program in order to make sure 100 percent of all single-family residences have at least one working smoke detector. Although Hazelwood Fire Department provides service for most of the City, Robertson and Florissant Valley cover areas acquired through annexations. Their personnel, along with assistance from Hazelwood Fire Explorers Post 9341, will be canvassing neighborhood streets for the next month or two–going door-to-door.
According to Matthies, “We’ve worked with residents before on smoke detectors, but not on such a large scale. Our plans are to cover the whole city and reach approximately 10,000 households.”
Firefighters will be knocking on doors and asking residents if they have smoke detectors. They will ask permission to go in and check the devices as a courtesy call. The purpose of these visits are three-fold: 1) check smoke detectors; 2) replace bad batteries; and 3) install new smoke detectors where needed. If residents aren’t home, canvassers will place a flyer on the front door indicating their visit and intent to return another day. Fire safety literature will be distributed as well.
“While there should be one smoke detector in every bedroom, the next best thing is to have one in the general sleeping area of the home. If it goes off in the middle of the night, the alarm will be loud enough to wake up the occupants and give them time to escape,” said Matthies.
Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke detectors or ones that don’t work. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and time is of the essence to get everyone out safely.
For more information on the Smoke Detector and Battery program, contact the Hazelwood Fire Department at (314) 731-3424.