Operation Save a Life offering free smoke detectors

Smoke detector (Source: WAFB)
Smoke detector (Source: WAFB)
Smoke detector (Source: WAFB)
Smoke detector (Source: WAFB)

(WAFB) - It's been a frigid week in Baton Rouge, with many nights in a row of hard freezes. And unfortunately, that has led to a number of deaths due to fire. To protect your family from fires, make sure you have working smoke detectors.

The latest fatal fire in East Baton Rouge sparked overnight Thursday on Iroquois Street. It claimed three more lives and pushed the number of fire-related deaths in the parish just this week to nine.

"We don't want to see anyone else hurt in a fire," said Derek Glover, district chief with the Central Fire Department.

When words seem to no longer be enough, fire crews from across the parish hit the streets Friday afternoon to make a difference. Instead of telling people to take care of their smoke alarms, they made house calls. The goal was not to just deliver them, but also install the life-saving devices.

Glover and his team were among the crews. They put in extra hours to make sure everyone who needs a smoke alarm got one. He says there have been just too many lives lost to not do something. "For these firefighters across the parish to have to have witnessed the fire deaths that they've seen over the last five days, it's just traumatic," said Glover.

The State Fire Marshal's Office has been offering free sign-ups by phone and online for anyone who either cannot get an alarm or who simply needs help replacing an old one. Glover says since then, they have had to get creative to cover the flood of calls. His group even spilled into Baton Rouge to assist where they can.

"Baton Rouge, from my understanding was overwhelmed with a of these detector installs today and if we can get to a few of their calls on the edge of our fire district, we're here to help," Glover added.

The help was specific to every home on the list. Once they arrived, the crew spread out as they replaced any old units, offered suggestions, and even stopped to share tips with young kids.

While Elsie McLean admits what has happened so far in 2018 is terrifying, seeing the fire departments willing to help is wonderful but she is hoping that their efforts will save lives. "It is just very scary," said McLean. "I hope nothing else bad happens. I hope everybody just looks out for each other and comes together as a whole and check on each other as a community."

The efforts will continue Saturday, January 6. Anyone can sign up with the Operation Save a Life program by calling the State Fire Marshal's Office directly at 225-925-4911. On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., call 225-925-3647.

You can also go online here at any time to apply for a free smoke detector.

For more information about fire safety and prevention, click here.


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