about five years ago my volunteer dept. did a door to door sales(at cost) and installment program for smoke detectors. the response was amazing in the number of detectors installed and the interaction with the public who didn't know who alot of us were. this program was a great success and another thing that was done at the same time was tests(if allowed) of detectors already ion the homes.
Did you guys assess the liability exposure ?
Specifically, if there was a fire in one of the properties where the FD provided the detector then the detector subsequently malfunctioned.
Hamilton Fire Dpeartment
No. We did not do anything toward exposure liability. The smoke detectors were battery operated with warranty. We did go back 2-3 mos. later to check the installed detectors and replaced the few malfunctioning ones. The issue of liability never was discussed and when a complaint was raised about a detector, we replaced it with a new one at department cost.
I'd think the potential liability would be far outweighed by the benefits of the program. Properly trained firefighters installing the equipment and providing literature on its care and upkeep should take care of that. We provide detectors and batteries when we find people that don't have them or when their auto alarm system is taken out of service. We just ask them to sign a form that lets them know they are responsible.
We had a great smoke det. program. We gave to over 300 homes. 1 on every level. We have even had two fires in houses that we put them in and they worked. They were the tamper proof kind. We had them sign a waiver releasing us of all libality.
I highly recommend it. Great PR.
Smoke detector programs can be a great idea if implemented properly. The liability is an important concern. A waiver is an excellent idea. Besides the potential of a detector malfunction the place where the detector is installed as well as unintentional damage to the structure by the firefighters who mount the detector can be a problem. Being proactive is the best course of action.