November 17, 2021
The Jacksonville Fire Department is currently taking part in “Get Alarmed Alabama” which is a state sponsored program where residents can request free smoke alarms. According to the Alabama Fire College website “If you live in Alabama, you are twice as likely as the rest of the nation to die as a result of fire.” To combat this dangerous statistic InTouch LLC, the Alabama Fire College, and the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office have joined forces to provide smoke detectors to fire departments that choose to be a part of the program.
Captain Chris Collins, Fire Marshall for Jacksonville Fire Department, has been implementing this program for residents within the fire departments coverage. Collins said “This program is free to the community and they only need to call (256) 782-3856 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and schedule an appointment for me to come out and do an initial assessment.” He went on to explain that he will go to the homeowners residence to see how many smoke alarms the structure will need. “A lot depends on the size of the house, things like how many bedrooms, how many floors, and how much living area is exposed.” He then explained after the initial assessment he will schedule an install date. On the install date both the Captain and another member of the fire department will arrive with all the necessary equipment to leave behind a professionally installed set of smoke detectors. Capt. Collins also wanted everyone to know that these smoke alarms are battery operated and not hardwired into the structure.
In 2015 Alabama ranked 3rd in the United States for deaths due to house fires. Many of these homes were not equipped with smoke alarms and a need was identified to help Alabamians to be safer where they sleep. The concept of donating these alarms was discussed and today we have the “Get Alarmed Alabama.” Although this is a completely free service from your local fire department there are some restrictions. The fire department is only able to provide this service for people that own their home. This is only due to the fact that landlords/owners are legally required to provide smoke alarms to tenants that rent from them. Capt. Collins did say that if a renter in the city limits of Jacksonville has requested smoke alarms from the landlord and they are not able to secure them to contact his office and he will become involved. He stated “We do not want anyone that is in need of a smoke alarm to be denied.”
Capt. Collins said that once the installation of the new smoke alarms is complete they also provide free fire safety information for the residents of the home. It covers topics such a fire escape plans, what to do if there is a fire, and much more. He stays with the family to answer any question and then goes on to his next installation to keep making Jacksonville safer from deadly fires one structure at a time.
This program is offered all over Alabama at participating fire departments. If you are interested in the alarm program please contact the Fire Marshall at your local fire department.
To stay current with Captain Chris Collins fire safety tips be sure to go the the Jacksonville Fire Department Facebook page. Captain Collins said he provides at least one tip per week but tries to do more when his schedule allows.