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Murray Journal

Murray Fire Department raises the alarm about Murray’s lack of smoke detectors

Oct 24, 2019 03:01PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray FD has been visiting local schools to discuss fire safety and the need for smoke detectors. (Photo courtesy Murray City FD)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

It was a sad day last year for Murray City’s Fire Department when they responded to a home engulfed in smoke and flames on 700 West. As they sifted through the burn, they found the remains of 7-year-old Cassidy Jackson and her grandmother, Lisa Wiley. The home had no smoke detectors.

“We have had recent fires that have injured and even caused death where no working smoke detectors were found in the home. Smoke detectors double your chances of survival during a residential fire,” Fire Marshal Joey Mittelman said.

Murray City FD observed Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7 through 13, by visiting Murray elementary schools to discuss the importance of smoke detectors and the need to create a plan and practice what to do during a fire. 

“We suggest you plan, practice and know your escape plan,” Mittelman said. “Murray has a wide variety of homes in size, age and design. Each home presents a different challenge for fire alarms and exit strategies. Firefighters don’t notice a specific problem within Murray, but oftentimes find non-working detectors throughout homes.”

Murray FD also recommends residents make sure they have a working smoke detector in each room of their home and always know two ways out of a room. Residents should also practice a fire-escape drill, designate a safe meeting place and test smoke alarms each month. 

"Test once per month, but change your battery twice per year. It is a lot that the industry suggests as a test, so at least complete the test twice per year. Recently, fire prevention has wanted to increase the awareness of escape plans, and that is where the ‘per month’ drill comes from this year. 

“‘2 Ways out’ could be as simple as your bedroom door and your single-story window in the bedroom. (Make sure you do not have bars outside your windows; if you do, then have a plan to remove them quickly.) If you have a second-story window, maybe you could gather a roll-up exit ladder or know where the second-story deck exit would be," Mittelman said. 

Firefighters also suggest preventing combustibles from being around cooking or other ignition sources. Know where an extinguisher is, and train to use the extinguisher with Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep (PASS). 

According to Mittelman, “The best smoke detectors are inter-wired alarms that will activate together when one detector senses smoke and then will notify everyone in the building.”

Kitchens have obvious fire potential, especially around stoves, and Murray FD has responded to many grease fires. The fire department has seen many curtain fires ignited by candles, or started by napkin/paper towel holders placed too close to the stove. Keeping furnaces and dryers clear of lint and other debris will also cut the risk of fires.

Murray FD can help Murray residents with their fire alarms if they are not able to install or replace them. “Murray Fire can’t help rewire the inter-wired detectors, for liability reasons, but we can install the 10-year lithium solo detectors. Red Cross provides us with three detectors per home that are to be donated to households that cannot afford either the detectors or the install fee. We suggest if you have inter-wired detectors to ask your neighbors or local religious organizations that may know a licensed electrician that would be willing to volunteer and help.”

Murray residents who cannot afford but wish to have a smoke detector can call the local Red Cross office at 801-323-7039. Murray FD has teamed up with the Red Cross Smoke detector program to install sensors in homes and can be reached at 801-264-2780.