Fire departments provide, install free smoke detectors

smoke detectors
Firefighter Mavrik Coltharp displays some of the smoke detectors the departments will install for residents.
December 30th, 2019     Featured General News

There is no reason for any residence in Union County not to have a working smoke detector.

That’s because both the city and county departments provide and install smoke detectors free of charge.

“The funding comes from the Red Cross and the State Fire Marshal’s office,” New Albany Deputy Chief Mark Whiteside said.

“We’ve installed 48 in the last three weeks,” he added.

The area has experienced few deaths attributable to fire – the last one in 2018 – and they want to keep it that way, Whiteside said.

The departments have been able to provide some smoke detectors in the past but the program has expanded under the department’s county risk reduction efforts that also help keep fire ratings low.

New Albany’s rating is 5 while areas with little or no protection are rated 10. In the past several years the county’s 10 volunteer departments have improved their ratings as well, resulting in lower fire insurance payment rates for residents.

Firefighters sometimes have encountered homes that have smoke detectors but with expired batteries or none at all. People sometimes would take the battery out of a smoke detector when needed for another device.

Now, the detectors firefighters are installing have batteries with a 10-year life – essentially the effective life of the detector itself – and the batteries can’t be used for other devices so there is no point in removing them.

Another relatively new part of the program is that smoke detectors are available for the hearing-impaired. One type has a flashing strobe light while another attaches to a bed and literally shakes the person awake if it detects smoke.

The detectors alert to smoke but not carbon monoxide, although some states have programs with those detectors.

Residential rental property is required through city ordinances to have the smoke detectors, although it is the responsibility of the owners to provide them. Only commercial properties must have fire extinguishers and residential rental property outside New Albany does not fall under the city codes.

Anyone who wants to have a smoke detector installed may call the city fire department at 662-534-1000. If you live outside the city your request will be forwarded to your appropriate local fire department’s chief.

The fire departments also help with prevention and education as well as inspection.

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