Aberdeen Fire and Rescue Shift Commander Kevin VanMeter routinely checks the smoke detectors in his home to make sure they're working. But in the 15 years he's worked for the department, he's often seen people who don't.
"For the most part, every business we go to has fire alarms and the majority of the houses we get called to have smoke detectors," VanMeter said. "But just out of memory, I'd say half of them are inoperable. When we show up at a fire, the detector is going off less than half of the time."
Those are dangerous numbers when considering the statistics on home fire fatalities. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 70 percent of fire fatalities happen in homes where there are no smoke alarms or if there are smoke alarms, they aren't working. And although 19 of every 20 homes in the United States has at least one smoke detector, four out of 10 fatal fires occurred in those homes that didn't have them.
Aberdeen Fire and Rescue will soon be doing its part to make sure that doesn't happen in Aberdeen. The department will be giving away 400 smoke detectors, which were purchased from leftover grant money used to buy a live burn trailer, at an open house on May 21. The department will also help install them if needed.
For more on this story read Wednesday's American News.
Distributed by the Associated Press