The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is partnering with the American Red Cross to place new smoke detectors in Hoosier homes that need them most.
The program is called “Get Alarmed” and will place 10,000 smoke alarms in homes over the next two years. The smoke alarms will be put in homes at no cost thanks to a federal grant of more than $500,000.
Indiana Fire Marshal Jim Greeson says “a working smoke alarm is anyone’s best chance of surviving and escaping their home from a fire.”
In 2018, there were 93 fire fatalities in Indiana and many were in homes without a working fire alarm. Greeson says this is a huge increase from 2017.
Greeson says “our mission is to ensure hoosier citizens have the best opportunity to escape a fire at home by distributing smoke alarms throughout Indiana.”
In southwest Indiana, 3 children died in a December house fire in Tell City. Investigators say there was not a smoke alarm in the home.
“In today’s world, we have so many synthetic materials in our homes and plastics that once a fire begins in a home it spreads rapidly, produces a lot of toxic and poisonous gases and smoke, and it’s very difficult to escape a fire today versus 30-40 years ago” says Greeson.
More than two-thirds of deadly fires across the U.S. were in homes without a working smoke alarm.
It’s recommended to change the batteries in a smoke alarm at least twice a year. Scott Township Fire Department says a good way to remember to change the batteries is changing them every time you change your clock for daylight savings.
700 alarms have already been handed out across the state, and 4,300 people have applied for one.
Another 1,000 alarms will be purchased and intentionally placed with those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Along with having a working smoke alarm, having an exit plan is just as important. Greeson says “once you exit the home, never go back in. Call the fire department and by all means do not re-enter a home once it’s on fire.”