It can mean the difference between life and death. But firefighters say too many people don't have working smoke detectors in their homes. The News On 6's Jeffrey Smith reports the Tulsa Fire Department is working to let residents know how important smoke detectors are.
The fire department drove around West Tulsa on Saturday, giving away free smoke detectors to anyone who needs one. They do it every three months as part of a program called Project Life.
And any firefighter will tell you, a smoke detector is one of the most important items to have in your house.
The beep of a smoke detector is not the most pleasant sound, but it can save your life.
"Smoke is what kills people in a fire, way before the fire gets there," said TFD firefighter Tom Hufford.
Firefighters say plenty of people have detectors in their homes, but don't check them to see if they're working.
On Saturday, firefighters went around West Tulsa to change that. Because there were so many house fires around Union Avenue last year, fire officials sent out 1,700 stickers offering help.
"We'll average 400 smoke detectors and a couple hundred batteries," said Hufford.
All day long, firefighters went around to people who wanted help.
Gencie Russell has lived in the same house for 45 years and says she hasn't checked her smoke detector in years. But she's thankful they came by on Saturday.
"If something catches on fire, it'll at least wake you up, help you get out," said Russell.
The fire department recommends you test the smoke detector every month. And you need to replace the battery every six months. And you're supposed to replace the entire detector with a brand new one every eight years.
"It's one of the main things homeowners can do to save their own lives," said TFD firefighter Robert Brown.
When it comes to house fires, an ounce of prevention goes a long way.
Here is an example of how important smoke detectors are:
Once the spark of a fire is ignited, you have less than five minutes before every person in a two-story home can be killed from smoke inhalation alone.
That's why the fire department does the free checks every few months because it literally can save your life.
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