Working smoke detector and alert neighbor credited for averting disaster in Fall Creek fire

July 10, 2013

Ithaca Fire Department Lieutenant Thomas T. Basher Jr. "credits a working smoke detector and an alert neighbor" for a quick and positive outcome when a fire broke out on Farm Street late Tuesday night. Basher says a resident at 205 Farm Street called 911 to report that a smoke detector was going off in a neighboring apartment, and there was a smell of something burning.

Firefighters arrived to find a locked door to the apartment, forced it open, and found a pot burning on the stove. A "non-alert occupant" was found in the bedroom and brought out to waiting paramedics from Bangs Ambulance, who transported the occupant to Cayuga Medical Center for further evaluation.

Basher says "Small fires, unreported or undetected, can quickly grow and overtake an apartment or home." Working smoke detectors are a vital factor in surviving fires in the home.

The National Fire Protection Association says 96% of all homes in the U.S. have at least one smoke detector, but only about three quarters of all homes have a working smoke detector, and that almost two thirds of home fire deaths from 2005-2009 occurred in homes with no smoke detectors or no working smoke detectors.

Smoke detectors should be on every level of a home, and outside every separate sleeping area and cooking areas. Hardwired smoke detectors should have a battery backup in case of power failure, and batteries should be replaced once or twice a year, even if the low-battery warning hasn't sounded yet. The slogan "Change your clocks, change your batteries" encourages people to replace smoke detector batteries twice a year, when Daylight Saving Time begins and ends in the spring and fall.

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