Alabama state fire marshals say winter is the busiest month for house fires.
They partnered with the In Touch Foundation and the Alabama Fire College to make sure everyone has working fire alarms.
Vaquetta Whitaker says she wishes she had someone check her grandmother’s smoke alarm before her house caught on fire.
“We were going to my grandmother’s house and we smelled something like barbecue, and we turned around and saw smoke coming out the attic and it turned out to be an attic fire. And when they opened it, it was a lot fiercer than what they thought it was,” Whitaker says.
But Whitaker says their fire alarm didn’t alert them of a fire.
“We didn’t hear any fire alarms or nothing. No smoke, you could only see it outside,” she said.
Alabama State Fire Marshall Scott Pligreen says that’s the exact reason the In Touch Foundation, Alabama State Fire Marshall’s Office and the Alabama Fire College partnered with Fire Service to identify those who needed fire alarms either installed or checked.
“To give them at least minimal protection by the use of these smoke alarms,” says Scott Pilgreen, Alabama State Fire Marshal.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms, no smoke alarms were present in more than one-third of the home fire deaths and in one of every five of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
“It didn’t go off. It was active cause I checked the batteries and stuff, so it was,” says Whitaker.
“That just shows you how great the need is,” Pilgreen stated.
Pilgreen says since they began the initiative a year ago, they’ve helped thousands of people in the state.
“It’s roughly in the 30,000 in the area. As far as the number of smoke alarms that have been distributed around the state and right now we’ve touched 51 counties of the state’s 67, with this smoke alarm effort,” Pilgreen says.
Whitaker says everyone should make sure they check their alarms themselves or get the fire department to help.
“I have one here for these two bedrooms and then I have one for the master bedroom. I check them every month and I test them,” Whitaker says.