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By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A potentially life-saving effort is underway in Baltimore. The city is making it easier for residents to get working smoke alarms in their homes.

Pat Warren has details on what’s new about the program.

Free smoke alarms have been available for years, but not only do these alarms have extended 10-year battery life, they’re easier to get your hands on.

Firefighters canvas neighborhoods after fatal fires in the city, offering to check to make sure smoke alarms are working.

“I think it’s nice considering I lost one of my neighbors the other day,” said one Baltimore resident.

On Monday, the city ramped up its safety effort with 10,000 new smoke alarms that have a battery life of 10 years and an easier way to get them– just dial 311.

“As a firefighter there’s no better feeling than to arrive at the scene of the fire and find the family standing out in front together and to hear those words: everybody’s out,” said Chief Jim Clack.

Now all city residents need to do is call 311, and in a two-hour time frame firefighters will come to your door and personally install new smoke alarms.

“These smoke alarms do no good sitting here in the fire station or in the fire marshal’s office,” Clack said. “Where they need to be is on the ceiling of every level of your home, and our goal is to install all 10,000 of these smoke alarms this year.”

The 311 and free smoke alarm program has only one requirement: that you live in the city. Your income is not a factor. Your type of dwelling is not a factor. And you can start dialing now.

It’s a no-excuses safety precaution for Baltimore residents, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has special encouragement for the women of the house.

“I will say if the concern is your house isn’t tidy enough for company don’t worry about it, no one’s going to talk about you if your floors aren’t swept, if you haven’t dusted,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “What’s most important is that you call to get your smoke alarms. They’ll take care of it. It’s free. They’ll put it up themselves. You don’t have to get a handyman to do it. You don’t have to bug your husband or your boyfriend or even get up there yourself. You can do it. We’ll do it for you. Just make the call.”

It’s a lifesaver.

“’Cause you never know when it might happen to you,” said one city resident.

Six people have died in house fires in the city this year.

The smoke alarms were purchased with a federal grant.

Comments (2)
  1. Mark Sigmon says:

    What is this costing the taxpayers? Ten year bateries? I’d say the smoke detectors with TEN year bateries costs a least $20.00 each, plus setting up the program. Plus the instruction proram set up. Plus the cost of firemen actually installingthese for those taht can’t.

    More importantly: Can you say “Liability”? What happens when the free smoke detector fails due to what ever reason? Lawsuits coming – thanks Baltimore.

    1. Olen Freeman says:

      True story. About three years ago a BCFD hook ‘n’ ladder truck (Engine 42, 4522 Harford Rd.) was driving thru’ my neighborhood, knocking on doors, supposedly passing out free smoke alarms, batteries and info about their life-saving importance. I told the fireman I could use an additional smoke alarm for the basement. He said they were out of them. How about batteries for the first floor alarm? Out of those too. But if I met him after work at O’Donnell’s Bar next to the firehouse he would give me some batteries, or would leave some there for me. I long ago lost all faith in Balto. City government, but lost all trust in the fire dept. after that.

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