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Saving lives, one smoke alarm at a time

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue paramedic/firefighter Dan Martin installs a smoke alarm in Abram Rasband’s mobile home at Northlake Mobile Home Park. - Kassie Korich/staff photo
Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue paramedic/firefighter Dan Martin installs a smoke alarm in Abram Rasband’s mobile home at Northlake Mobile Home Park.
— image credit: Kassie Korich/staff photo

Abram Rasband received a pleasant surprise at his front door Tuesday afternoon.

Armed with smoke alarms was a group of Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue (CKFR) officials looking to install the life-saving devices at no cost.

“I’m for anything that can save lives,” Rasband said.

Rasband is a resident of Northlake Mobile Home Park in Bremerton and is one of the many recipients who will receive free smoke alarms from CKFR this month. Prior to Tuesday, he only had one smoke alarm in his mobile home. As the crew went door-to-door, they discovered quite a few of the residences didn’t have any at all.

The fire department is focusing on single-wide mobile home parks in which there are no nearby fire hydrants. Another important reason for the emphasis is manufactured homes are known to be extremely combustible once a fire starts, according to CKFR.

“I think this is very smart,” Rasband said as he watched CKFR paramedic/firefighter Dan Martin install a new alarm in his hallway. “This is very impressive to me.”

The project is made possible by a grant from the Washington State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CKFR officials hope to install 300 smoke alarms through the end of the month at several mobile home parks including Erlands Point, Country Lane and Illahee.

“We’re targeting our most needy areas,” explained Theresa MacLennan, CKFR spokeswoman. “Our goal is to get all 300 alarms installed, they’re not doing any good just sitting here.”

The smoke alarms — valued at about $22 each — contain lithium ion batteries which are good for 10 years.

Although some residents declined the free smoke alarms, many welcomed the fire department with open arms.

“They were very receptive,” MacLennan said “They ranged from families with children to single adults — all age ranges.”

Besides installing an average of two to three alarms in each accepting mobile home, residents also were provided with a plethora of safety information ranging from fire escape planning to smoke alarm testing as well as how to properly dispose smoking materials for those homes with smokers.

Although the grant allows CKFR to install 300 alarms in a variety of mobile homes, firefighters always carry the devices with them on their rigs.

“On a medical call or fire call we’ll look around to see if they have smoke alarms,” Martin said. “This (project) just enhances it.”

For more information on smoke alarms or to receive a smoke alarm from CKFR, call (360) 447-3603.

“Our real effort is to ensure that all homes in our community have early-warning protection,” MacLennan said.

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