We have had the greatest success with our free smoke detector program. We were able to obtain use of CDBG funds to purchase 200 smoke detectors. We chose First Alert's detector because it was the only one (that we were able to locate) that had a 10 year, non removable battery. We chose the non removable battery for the obvious reasons. CDBG funds are federal funds that are given to most communities and stands for Community Development Block Grants. The 200 detectors cost $15/each. While it was not intended, we have learned after installing over 200 detectors in the last year that 90% of them were in residents of senior citizens which is one of our target age groups!

The program has been a heartwarming success. We have never received so many thank you letters and overwhelmingly positive "thanks". It has been great for our citizens but also turned out to be a great morale booster for the members of our department. There is no better PR!

Do the free smoke detector program. Other places have had success with companies like Radio Shack providing free detectors. Dont give up, someone or some company will back you, you just have to be creative. And of course, they get great PR as well.

Most importantly, we are providing the best protection for the members of our community!!


Charles Werner, Battalion Chief
Charlottesville Fire Department
Contributing Editor, Firehouse Magazine