SAFD restructures smoke alarm installation program

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To promote safety during ongoing social distancing edicts, the St. Albans Fire Department has restructured its smoke alarm installation program to allow drive-through pick-ups of the smoke detectors.

“Folks can drive up behind our station and receive up to two, free, 10-year, sealed lithium battery alarms,” SAFD Lt. and Fire Inspector Chris Collins said. “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had to suspend our program, because at that time, the supplier requirements specifically said we had to install them in the people’s homes.

“After the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not feasible for our staff to go into people’s homes to install smoke alarms,” Collins added, “and we were concerned for two main reasons: one, folks were spending more time at home than ever before, increasing the potential for residential fires, and, two, we know the odds of surviving a house fire are doubled when smoke alarms are present.

“This left us looking for a solution to a problem we wanted to mitigate before someone suffered.”

Collins said West Virginia State Fire Marshal Ken Tyree assisted the SAFD in developing a “drive-up” program in which firefighters can give citizens one or two alarms (which were provided by the fire marshal’s office as well) per household.

“In return, they simply sign an acknowledgement form saying they will install them in a residential setting,” Collins explained. “Also, if they email or call me to confirm they installed the alarms, they will be entered to win a $25 Kroger Gift Card.

“The best part is, since we are not installing the alarms, we do not have to limit the program to St. Albans city residents. All folks have to do is call 304-727-2253 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or message our Facebook page, ‘Saint Albans WV Fire,’ and schedule a time they will drive up to get their alarms,” Collins said.

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