Firefighters install smoke alarms


Staff Writer

Monday, June 19, 2017

A new partnership between the Nashville Fire Department and two state agencies could soon benefit the department and the public.

The Nashville Fire Department recently joined forces with the UNC Jaycees Burn Center and the N.C. Office of the State Fire Marshal for the first time to install smoke alarms in local residents’ homes. The partnership is new, but the agency has been providing smoke alarms to residents for at least a decade, said Capt. Scott Whitford.

The agencies’ partnership is important because it allows the Nashville Fire Department to earn financial credit for needed equipment. The 32-member department gets a five-dollar credit toward the purchase of fire-fighting equipment through the National Fire Prevention Association for each smoke alarm that firefighters install, Whitford said. That was not possible when the department was distributing and installing them by itself.

He added the agency already has installed 10 to 15 smoke alarms in its town and rural district since the partnership was launched a little more than a week ago. It has a goal of installing 200 smoke alarms by the end of the year. Whitford stressed that he is “very confident the goal will be met.”

He said the department already has started receiving calls from residents to have firefighters install smoke alarms in their homes, adding he is not concerned about running out of smoke alarms.

“If the department runs out of smoke alarms to install, we can get more,” Whitford said.

The inspiration to work with the organizations came after the department was presented with information by Lt. Chris Jenkins, one of the department’s firefighters, after he recently returned from a conference with material about the program, adding the public’s reaction to the department’s continued outreach has been positive.

“People have been very receptive to what we’re doing,” Whitford said. “It makes me feel very good because we’re just doing our job. Our duty is to get out there, reduce risk and educate people about fire safety, and that is what we’re continuing to do through this partnership. We take that duty very seriously.”

Whitford stressed every home should have a smoke alarm.

“The fact of the matter is that having a smoke alarm alerts people to a potential fire, allowing them to get out of their homes faster,” Whitford said. “If that call goes out, it means someone’s having a bad day. We want to be able to get to people as quickly as possible — and the faster people are alerted, the faster they can contact us. The sooner they do that, the sooner we can get to them and help them.”