By Amanda Amsel
In an effort to protect the residents of Prairie Township, the fire department is kicking off a smoke detector program that could potentially save lives.
The Prairie Township Fire Department will be partnering with the American Red Cross, Doctor’s Hospital, the Westland Area Business Association and Flyers Pizza to host the program. The kick-off of the year-long program will be at 10 a.m. on April 11.
“The purpose of this program is to make ourselves available to every township resident,” said Mike Altomare, fire marshal for Prairie Township. “We want to develop a fire safety program by knocking on each resident’s door and testing their smoke detectors.”
If a resident’s smoke detector does not work, the firefighters will replace the old batteries, replace the detector if it is broken or give them a new one if they don’t have one.
This will be the first time the township’s fire department has done a fire awareness program of this magnitude and is excited to educate people about the importance of having a working smoke detector.
“The American Red Cross volunteers will be helping us knock on 6,500 single family homes in the township,” said Franklin Township Fire Chief Chris Snyder. “All the supplies needed for this were donated by township businesses, so we are thankful to these sponsors as well.”
The American Red Cross volunteers will be helping on three different dates, during these dates the volunteers and firefighters will be reaching the majority of township residents. These key dates are April 11, May 9 and June 6.
Volunteers will be starting at 10 a.m. and won’t stop until they have completed their targeted area for that day.
“When we start this program, we will be starting on the eastern portion of the township,” Snyder said. “The homes we do not get to during our big drive dates will be hit sometime this year by our firefighters.”
Snyder said the reason apartment complexes will not be targeted during this program is because their smoke detectors are checked by the owners of the complexes.
“Homeowners are responsible for their own smoke detectors so sometimes replacing batteries or checking those falls to the way side,” Snyder said. “A smoke detector can make a difference between life and death, so we thought targeting homes where they may not always be checked was the most beneficial.”
According to Altomare, a smoke detector should be checked once a month and the batteries should be replaced twice a year. They recommend changing them during daylight savings time.
For more information on the Prairie Township Fire Department Smoke Detector Program, visit www.prairietownship.org.