Martinsville Fire Department increasing effort to make sure homes have smoke detectors

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

MARTINSVILLE (WSLS 10) - The Martinsville Fire Department is dedicating time each month to go door-to-door checking people's smoke detectors and installing smoke detectors, if necessary.

"It's a great feeling to install them in the homes that have allowed us to install, but at the same time disappointing in the homes that will not allow us to install," said Martinsville Fire Chief Ted Anderson.

The department has been doing a door-to-door smoke detector campaign for about 15 years, but up until now has not done it on a consistent basis. Instead, firefighters have only done it whenever they've had time.

Now, at the suggestion of one of the firefighters, the department has committed to doing this once every month.

"This is a great program that is made available thanks to the help we're receiving from our career staff, our volunteer staff, the American Red Cross, the Martinsville Police Department," Anderson explained.

In one home, the family had a smoke detector, but admitted that it didn't work. Anderson installed two new ones for them.

"I thank them because if it was night right now and we were sleeping and there was smoke we might have been dead by now," said Jose Jarica after the smoke detectors were installed in his home.

After installing a smoke detector, firefighters also talk to the family about what to do in case a fire breaks out.

"Do you need to have a special meeting place?" Anderson quizzed Jarica after explaining how a smoke detector works.

He replied, saying he understood his family needs to have a place to meet outside the home in case of a fire.

Martinsville Police Officer EC Stone helped the fire department and said he appreciates the opportunity.

"I think it's important for community safety," Stone said. "I'm glad we got to partner with the fire department. We get to see a little bit of what they do."

Residents needing a smoke detector can contact the fire department at 276-403-5325 or the American Red Cross at 276-632-5127.

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