Government

Dixon Fire Department receives 100 10-year smoke detectors

State, local officials kick off Fire Prevention Week

DIXON – The Dixon Fire Department received 100 new 10-year smoke detectors to give away and promoted awareness for a state law requiring residences to have them by the end of next year.

“Nothing is more heartbreaking than to respond to a fatal fire and find non-working smoke detectors in the home,” Dixon Fire Chief Ryan Buskohl said. “While the number of fire deaths may have decreased in the past few decades, you are more likely to die in a residential fire than you were years ago. This is because the majority of these deaths are caused by smoke inhalation and not burns, which is why early warning for a smoke alarm is so critical. The toxic gases that are emitted from the synthetic material in modern homes (as opposed to the more natural woods and fibers that were used in the past) contribute to this problem and flashover is occurring in as little as 3 minutes as opposed to almost 30 minutes a generation ago.”

In 2020, Illinois fire officials reported 107 residential fire deaths, and almost 70% of the deaths occurred in homes without working smoke detectors, said Margaret Vaughn, government affairs director for Illinois Fire Safety Alliance and Illinois Firefighters Association.

“We worked with the General Assembly to pass a law to address this horrific problem, by requiring Illinois residents to replace their old smoke detectors with the type that has a long-term 10-year sealed battery by the end of 2022,” Vaughn said. “This would apply to residents that are still using alarms with removable batteries or alarms that are not hardwired.”

The new law mainly applies to homes built before 1988.

Illinois Fire Safety Alliance Executive Director Philip Zaleski said the 10-year alarms cost around $15, and they save residents $40 to $60 in longterm battery costs. To avoid false alarms, smoke detectors should not be placed within 15 feet of a stove or within 3 feet of bathrooms because of the humidity.

Illinois State Fire Marshal Matt Perez said the “Be Alarmed!” program provides lifesaving education and smoke detectors to residents in Illinois.

“With each smoke detector installed, this reduces the risk for tragedy in our communities,” Perez said. “We encourage everyone to check your smoke detectors in your homes and make sure they are working monthly. Replace expired or broken detectors with the new 10-year sealed battery ones.”

Illinois-based First Alert donated the alarms to the fire department as well as equipment to install them. For information, call the Dixon Fire Department at 815-288-3323.