Smoke Alarm Program
That's right. We said "free".
We are a local partner agency with the American Red Cross smoke alarm program. The ARC purchases and supplies smoke alarms for fire departments to donate and install in their local residents' homes.
We want every home in our jurisdiction to have at least one properly installed and operating smoke alarm.
Our ladder and engine/rescue companies carry alarms and installation kits on their apparatus. Anytime there is a request to survey and evaluate a home's existing alarms, or to provide them where there are none or not enough, firefighters will schedule and meet residents at their home to give them the needed assistance.
The only stipulations from the ARC are that the donated alarms must be installed by our personnel, and we complete a short review of the resident's emergency preparedness. We then complete a Red Cross form and forward it to their local office. These forms are used to provide data in their ongoing efforts to provide safety assistance to the public, and serve as a means of determining the numbers needed to re-supply our alarm inventory.
In keeping with both current technology and estimated smoke alarm functional lifetimes, all ARC-provided alarms are rated for 10 years without the need for changing batteries. In line with this, we recommend all smoke alarms 10 years or older be replaced.
If you have alarms less than 10-years old that are not functioning and have disposable batteries, we carry a supply in our kits and can try a battery replacement to see if that corrects the problem. If not, we will offer to replace it with a new smoke alarm.
Once or twice each year, the Red Cross sponsors a program called "Sound the Alarm". Each year a different Worthington-area neighborhood is selected for canvassing. ARC volunteers team with firefighters to offer replacement smoke alarms and installations.
If you are in need of smoke alarms, would like to schedule an evaluation of your alarm coverage, or have any concern regarding this type of protection, please contact us via our administrative line at 614-885-7420.
Proper Installation and Care of Smoke Alarms
- Install a minimum of one smoke alarm outside each sleeping area in your home.
- There should be at least one smoke alarm installed on every level of your home.
- Mount smoke alarms on the ceiling at least 4 inches from any walls.
- Test your smoke alarm monthly for proper operation according to the manufacturer's instructions. For most alarms, this simply requires pressing a 'test' button on the device until it sounds.
- Some alarms give a warning 'chirp' when the battery is low. We recommend you pre-emptively change each alarm's battery at least once a year. Two simple memory joggers for this are during the annual Fire Prevention Week in October, or during one of the "spring forward, fall back" time change events in the spring and fall. ("Change your clock, change your batteries".)
- Make sure your smoke alarms are cleaned with the brush attachment of your vacuum at least twice a year. This removes dust which may cause the alarm to malfunction or not sound quickly when needed.
If your alarm activates during routine tasks like cooking or taking showers, do not remove the batteries or disconnect the power. Fan fresh air through the unit with a newspaper or magazine until the alarm stops. Removing the batteries temporarily may lead to loss of vital protection if you forget to re-install them later.