On Saturday, January 24, the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District conducted a door-to-door smoke alarm and fire safety information day in the southwest area of Sisters. 38 smoke alarms were installed, and 14 batteries replaced, free of charge. 8 homes visited did not have any working smoke alarms. Fire safety material was provided for almost 100 homes. Funding for the project was provided by the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Smoke alarms were checked for proper placement, age, and function. It is recommended that smoke alarms are installed on each floor of a residence, in the areas leading to bedrooms, and in each bedroom. Manufacturers recommend replacing smoke alarms every 10 years to ensure proper function. If an alarm is older than 10 years, it may still function, but is less reliable than a new alarm. The oldest alarm found was manufactured in 1983.
If an alarm was connected to the home wiring, it was checked for age and battery maintenance. The program did not provide wired alarms, but the battery was changed if it had not been in the last year. If the alarm did not work, a battery-operated alarm was provided for use until a new wired alarm was installed by the homeowner.
The most recent statistics the State Fire Marshal’s Office indicate that in 2013 there were 3,780 structure fires in Oregon, which resulted in 33 civilian deaths and 179 injuries. Heating and cooking were the leading causes of fires. Of the fires reported, smoke alarms were present in 85% of the residential structures, but only 52% actually operated. Of the 48% that failed to operate, 50% either did not have a battery, or they had not been properly maintained and were no longer working.
The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District has more free smoke alarms available. If you would like your smoke alarms checked, or feel that you need them replaced, please contact the fire district at 541-549-0771.