41 Pioneer homeowners get free smoke detectors

HENDRY COUNTY – A volunteer team put together with the Red Cross, Pioneer Volunteer Fire Department and others from the community fanned out in the area the weekend of Sept. 21 and assisted 41 people with fire preparedness.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Courtesy of Becky Eckert
Red Cross volunteer Michael Reeves puts a smoke detector in a Pioneer resident’s home.

Wayne Eckert, a retired licensed fire alarm contractor who lives in the Pioneer neighborhood west of Clewiston, had tried to coordinate the event for the previous weekend, but the Hurricane Dorian brush-by led to many cancellations.

So personnel from the Pioneer V.F.D., Station 5 on Hendry Isles Boulevard, assembled along with the Red Cross folks and Mr. Eckert on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Mr. Eckert said all those residents of Pioneer neighborhood were able to get up to three smoke detectors installed for no charge. A total of over 100 smoke detectors with 10-year batteries were deployed.

“I felt that helping out with my experience, truck and tools would be a good way to help my community stay safe from a residential fire,” he said via email.

I helped do the actual installations, having been a state licensed fire alarm contractor, now retired,” Mr. Eckert explained.

The volunteers went out in crews of three, “a Red Cross representative to do the paperwork, another person to educate the homeowner on how to maintain and test the smoke detectors and an installer,” he said, adding;
“Smoke detectors save lives. I have personal experience with that.”

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Courtesy of Becky Eckert
Pioneer resident Pablo Debreu hears the Red Cross instruction on fire safety and fire escape planning from representative Pat Lucey.

He cited a study from the National Fire Protection Association, authored by Marty Ahrens and released in January 2019 (online at nfa.org), that shows the risk of dying in reported home structure fires is 54% lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.

And, compared to reported home fires with no smoke alarms or automatic extinguishing systems (AES) at all, the death rate per 1,000 reported fires was:
• 23% lower when battery-powered smoke alarms are present but AES are not;
• 42% lower when smoke alarms with any power source are present but AES are not;
• 63% lower when hardwired smoke alarms are present but AES are not; and
• 90% lower when hardwired smoke alarms and sprinklers are present.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment