Fire department offers free smoke detectors

Published 6:26 am Friday, December 13, 2013

In an effort to keep families safe, the Niles Fire Department is offering to install free smoke detectors in homes within the city.

Fire Chief Larry Lamb said the department had approximately 200 smoke detectors available as of Thursday afternoon.

“We are required to install them as part of the program. It allows our firefighters to make sure they are properly placed and working,” Lamb said. “We install several hundred annually and many installs include anywhere from four to six units.”

Lamb said there are two types of smoke detectors: photoelectric and ionization.

“Most smoke detectors in homes are ionization units and should be replaced every 10 years,” he said. “If your detectors are more than 10 years old it’s time for new ones as they begin to lose their ability to detect smoke.”

While many people might think they will wake up in the event of a fire, Lamb said that is far from the truth. Carbon monoxide given off by fire can put a person deep in sleep, he said. Also, fires can spread quickly due to the large quantity of plastics in homes.

“And don’t count on your children to wake up. Most kids don’t wake up to a smoke detector, so it’s important to have units properly placed on every level of your home, inside and outside bedrooms,” Lamb said. “When you practice, plan on waking up the kids. Though our units do not offer it, you can get units that are interconnected for added safety.”

Lamb encouraged all families to develop and practice a fire safety plan, including planning two ways out of each room.

This batch of smoke detectors, Lamb said, was supplied through Community Development Block Grant funding.

“We also have some detectors that were supplied by Servepro,” he said. “They have supplied detectors to Berrien County fire departments over the past few years.”

For more information, or to schedule an installation, call the fire department at (269) 683-0160.

Niles Charter Township residents should call the township fire department at (269) 683-3311.