EFD’s ‘We Care’ offers no-cost smoke detector installation
By Tom Phelan
Enfield - posted Sun., Feb. 6, 2011
Enfield Fire Chief Edward N. Richards said last week that the problems presented by severe winter weather have stalled the town’s “We Care” smoke detector installation program for a while. Richards thought the fire department might have to apply for an extension of the grant, if they cannot get firefighters out on Enfield streets performing the safety inspections and installing the smoke detectors.
The EFD chief said his firefighters have been called to the sites of two major building collapses in the last week. Firefighters have also been hard at work to uncover hydrants buried under several feet of packed snow, so they can be identified and used in an emergency.
People who have heard about the collapses and other problems have been contacting the fire department, reporting strange noises that they thought might be warning signs of a building problem. In some cases they have found water problems in Enfield homes. Richards said that Enfield’s firefighters “have been run ragged” responding to the weather-related problems. He has requested crews of inmates from the Enfield-based prisons to assist with the tremendous job of shoveling out the town’s hydrants.
As the workload from the severe weather abates, Enfield residents should expect to see fire engines back in their neighborhoods, making non-emergency visits to more than 11,400 homes, according to Richards.
The “We Care” campaign began Oct. 22 and will now extend beyond the expected completion target, as teams of uniformed firefighters visit Enfield homes to promote fire and life safety and a reduction in the potential for injury in the home. The program applies to one- and two-family homes built in Enfield prior to 1986. Firefighters have been installing a new dual sensor, long-life battery operated- smoke detector, free of charge. Homes built or substantially renovated after Oct. 1 of 1985 must by code be equipped with AC-powered smoked detectors, and are therefore not included in the campaign. The safety devices can detect both smoke and fire in the home. During their visits, firefighters also conduct a voluntary home safety survey to help residents understand how safe their living environment is.
Installing, rather than simply distributing, the complementary smoke and fire detectors is a requirement of the grant that is funding the campaign.
Firefighters from Enfield’s six fire stations will attempt to visit about 11,400 eligible homes. Residents should be aware that all firefighters working on the campaign will always visit in uniform, carry fire department identification, and, because they are on-call, will travel with a fire engine.
The campaign will benefit the residents the firefighters visit by providing a home fire and life safety hazards survey of the home and increasing smoke and carbon monoxide detector awareness. Firefighters will leave an informational fire and life safety literature packet at each home, and will also collect any special needs information at the homes to aid emergency responders, in the event of a fire or medical emergency there.
The Enfield Fire Department was awarded a $251,748 Fire Prevention and Safety Grant by the Federal Emergency Management Agency which will allow the fire department to spearhead a campaign promoting fire and life safety across Enfield in cooperation with all five of the town’s fire departments. Because of the grant, there is no charge to the residents for the “We Care” smoke detector and fire safety program. The grant request was written by the Enfield Fire Department in 2009, and the award was received in 2010. The campaign is being carried out by all five fire departments in Enfield.