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Rome VFD wants to install 400 smoke detectors

Nick Kuhn, the fire chief of the Rome Township Volunteer Fire Department, has a lofty goal for his weekend.

“We would like to install between 300-400 smoke detectors on Saturday,” he said.

The money for the smoke detectors comes from the VFD’s general fund and the goal is two parts. One, October is Fire Prevention Week. Two, is to save lives.

“We have seen the success of smoke detectors in our community,” Kuhn said. “So we thought it would be a great way to kick off Fire Prevention Week, to go out and canvass a neighborhood and install as many smoke alarms as possible.”

“At the end of the day, if we can save someone’s life or prevent a whole lot of property loss, it is well worth it,” he continued. “It is a successful project and money is not really an object at that point.”

He pointed out that around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning, the fire department responded to a fire at a house around the 16 mile-marker on State Route 7. The house was a complete loss but both occupants made it out safely after their smoke alarms alerted them and they could escape the house.

“So us putting a little bit of money into it and dedicating a whole day to installing them, if we can save somebody tomorrow, two weeks from now, a year from now, then it is all worth it,” Kuhn said. “It is super important to us because we’ve seen how smoke alarms work and that it helps in gaining those extra seconds to escape a dangerous situation.”

Kuhn said they will have about 10 guys out in Rome Township and Athalia asking if people would like a smoke detector, which are free and each household is limited to three.

“They will have to fill out a little bit of paperwork and it takes about 15-20 minutes to install a smoke detector,” Kuhn said. “So, overall, the experience should take less than 30 minutes.”

And even if a household has a smoke detector, the firefighters will check them to make sure they are operational.

“And we will have tons and tons of batteries that we picked up,” Kuhn said. “So, if people have a working smoke alarm that just need batteries, we will be happy to come out and replace batteries and test the alarms as well.”

The Rome Volunteer Fire Department teamed up with the National Fire Protection Association, the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to promote this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” which works to educate the public about basic but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire.

Kuhn said that modern homes burn a lot faster than older ones because of the material used in the construction and furniture cause them to burn hotter and faster.

“So, even gaining a couple seconds and being awakened by an alarm sounding rather than a room full of smoke, literally can mean the difference between life and death,” Kuhn said.