Operation 6abc: Save a Life kicks off

March 15, 2011 1:38:34 PM PDT
6abc has made it a mission to cut down the number of fire fatalities. For the past 19 years, we've teamed up with fire departments and local sponsors for Operation 6abc: Save a Life

6abc's own Cecily Tynan along with president and general manager of WPVI-TV, Bernie Prazenica, kicked off the 2011 campaign at a luncheon on Tuesday. They were joined by dozens of representatives from loca fire departments.

In fact, members from 130 departments from around the tri-state area lined up in Northeast Philadelphia to pick up free smoke detectors as part of the effort to save lives.

"It's very important considering a lot of fires happen at night when people are sleeping so it's good to have them," said firefighter Brian Gerhard of Bristol Township.

"WIth the economy the way it is people are putting things like fire prevention items like detectors on the back burner," said firefighter Robert Scardino of Woodstown, N.J. "It's a way we can reach out and take preventative measures."

Since 1992, with the help of local fire companies and Kidde, 6abc has distributed nearly one million smoke alarms to communities throughout the Delaware Valley.

In Yeadon there is actually a waiting list for people to get these life-saving devices.

"I do still find people who still don't have smoke detectors," said firefighter Matthew Black of Yeadon. "We have a fair amount of fires, we go in there, and there are no smoke detectors."

"This is one of the reasons that many of the fire departments around this area can say we've brought down fires, we've brought down fire deaths, we've brought down injuries," said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers. "This program is fabulous."

The local fire departments are installing the new smoke alarms in homes of low income, elderly, and other residents at risk in their respective communities. Philadelphia residents can call the Smoke Alarm Hotline at 215-686-1176 for installation help. Those outside of Philadelphia should contact their local fire station.

RELATED: Fire safety tips from Operation 6abc: Save a Life