Teaming up to prevent fire deaths in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia firefighters spent their morning installing hundreds of new smoke alarms as part of an initiative to prevent fire-related deaths in the city. (WPVI)

More than half of the fire-related deaths in Philadelphia last year happened in homes without working smoke alarms.

That's why Philadelphia firefighters and Red Cross volunteers joined forces Saturday morning to install hundreds of new smoke alarms in at-risk neighborhoods.

It was part of an initiative called "No More Fire Deaths," which aims to prevent fire-related fatalities in the city.

The teams went door-to-door in Southwest Philadelphia installing new smoke alarms and, in some cases, replacing old ones.

"I'm really excited now that I have some new ones, because I was getting ready to put new batteries in mine," said Deidre Guy. "But now I have new smoke alarms that don't need batteries for 10 years."

One of the goals of the program is to make sure every home has a 10-year, lithium-battery-powered smoke alarm on every floor.

They started in high-risk neighborhoods.

"Together, working with the citizens, hopefully we can get to zero fire deaths," said Executive Fire Chief Clifford Gilliam.

Officials say 32 people died in Philadelphia fires last year. 22 of those deaths happened in homes that didn't have working smoke alarms.

A new study of fire fatalities in the city over the past five years shows that having working smoke alarms lowers the chance of a fire fatality by 50%.

In addition to installing smoke alarms, the teams were also talking with people about escape plans - what to do if a fire breaks out.

They also spoke with folks about their pets and what to do with them in case of an emergency.

"In our flyers and online we have plans for your pets, first aid kits and how to incorporate them into your escape plan," explained Jennifer Dashkova of the Red Paw Relief Team.

Tina Pellom told the team members who visited her that an escape plan for herself and her dog, Conan, is crucial.

"You never know when a fire's going to break out," she said. "And since I'm paralyzed, and I can't get around fast, we definitely appreciate y'all coming around to check on us.

Philadelphia fire officials say if you need a smoke alarm and can't afford one, call 3-1-1.

Related Topics:
societyfirefightersfire safetyphilly newsSouthwest Philadelphia
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