BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In light of National Fire Prevention month, the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office and local firefighters are distributing and installing new smoke alarms to homeowners this October.
This year they are passing out alarms with batteries that last 10 years, rather than six months.
Lt. Kristen Delabretonne and a crew of deputy marshals are going door-to-door in random neighborhoods checking to make sure homeowners have working smoke alarms and that they have the number necessary to cover each house. It is part of their annual mission called Operation Save a Life.
Broadmoor homeowner Joyce Williams was the perfect candidate.
"I'm really glad we are here today especially because the only smoke detector you had is about 15 years old," Delabretonne said.
Not only were Williams' smoke alarms outdated, fire marshal inspectors said the one she did have did not cover the bedroom area.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said having them in that area of the house can be a matter of life and death.
"Evidence has shown us in the absence of a working smoke alarm most people never even wake up to a fire," Browning said.
Fire officials remind homeowners to change the batteries in their smoke alarms twice a year, typically when the time changes. But this year, they are encouraging residents to make the switch to a 10-year lithium battery-powered alarm. It is what deputy marshals are installing as they check in.
Homeowners are asked to fill out a short form with basic information and are asked to test the new alarms once a month.
Williams said she plans on keeping her end of the bargain.
"We were at the right place at the right time, and I'm glad you are home. In 10 years, give us a callback and we will come put new ones in," Delabretonne said.
Anyone who needs a smoke alarm but can't afford it can contact their local fire department to schedule a time they can d rop by and install one.