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Smoke detectors needed, Priest says
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How much is a life worth? That was the question asked Tuesday by Terry Priest of the Tennessee Fire Commission.
“Is a life worth the price of a smoke detector?” Priest asked during his address to members of McMinnville’s Noon Exchange Club for Fire Prevention Month. “They are $5 at Walmart for goodness sake.”
Priest noted that 35 percent of residences do not have smoke detectors despite their easy availability.
“If you call your local fire department they were bring one to your house and install it for free,” Priest noted. “There’s really no excuse not to have a working smoke detector in your home. It’s as easy as a phone call.”
Priest said the state fire commission has a smoke detector program which seeks to put smoke detectors in homes free of charge. To date, fires have happened in 53 homes where the detectors were installed and all but one of the homes was saved. No one was home in the one that was destroyed.
“So far this year we’ve had 73 fire fatalities in Tennessee,” Priest revealed. “Our state is second per capita in the nation for fire deaths. That’s not a fact to be proud of.”
Priest pointed out smoke is the silent killer during fires.
“It’s not the heat that gets you. It’s the smoke,” Priest said. “Ninety percent of fire fatalities are from smoke, not fire.”
Priest said it is important not only to have the smoke detector but also make sure it’s working.
“If you take the battery out to put in your TV remote, chances are you’re not going to put another one back in,” Priest said. “You need to make sure your smoke detector is working. It’s as easy as reaching up and pushing a button.”
Priest noted newer detectors now have long-life batteries which can last for years. He also noted the life that may be saved could be your own or that of a loved one. It could also be a fireman who comes to help.
“They risk their lives to save yours,” Priest said, noting 80 percent of the state’s firemen are volunteers. “The best thing we can teach a young firefighter is how to become an old firefighter.”
Priest urges people to either pick up a smoke detector at a local retailer or to call one of the local fire departments and ask for one.