Firefighters installing smoke alarms for seniors

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Jul 23 2013 12:16:25 PM HST

87-percent of deadly fires involve a home without a working smoke alarm.

HONOLULU -

Since 2008, crews have installed 3,500 smoke alarms in 700 homes on Oahu.  The Honolulu Fire Department is aiming to put alarms in about 100 senior citizen's homes this week in hopes to reduce fatalities from residential fires.

"Just having that early warning where the buzzer will go off and getting your family out of the house before it becomes a serious problem is priceless," said Fire Chief Manuel Neves.

Peter Akamu from IBEW Local 1186 says a Big Island home that received free detectors one week caught fire on the next week.

"Because of this, the smoke alarms that we had just installed, the people got out safely and a catastrophe was avoided," said Akamu.

But, this initiative is more than just installing smoke alarms.  It's a time for fire crews to focus on Hawaii's senior citizens and teach them ways to prevent house fires.

"It really gives us an opportunity to get in their homes, interact with the folks that live there and make them safer at the end of the day," said Neves.

Fire officials say you should keep your escape routes open and clear of objects.  And they have a tip on power strips.

"Everybody's plugging in power strips because everybody has so many different type of appliances, phone chargers and all these different things that use more electricity," said Neves.

This leaves you more at risk for overloading a circuit.  Experts say to look for old outlets that may be loose and don't leave extension cords wound up while plugged in.

"By unplugging things only when you need them is a possible alternative.  The downside on that is don't forget to unplug them when you're not using it," said Neves.

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