County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef this week urged residents to make sure they have working smoke alarms installed at their residence, and announced that the Rockland County Department of Health’s Healthy Neighborhood Program can provide free smoke alarms to eligible residents.
“In light of the recent increase in serious fire-related incidents in the county, I want to take this opportunity to encourage residents to correctly install smoke alarms in their homes and keep them in good working order,” said Vanderhoef. “Smoke alarms can alert individuals to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Health Department’s Healthy Neighborhood Program can provide and install free smoke alarms to eligible residents, including low-income residents, seniors, and at-risk families. All that is required is a brief home survey at the time of the visit.
The Healthy Neighborhood Program encourages residents to:
·Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years of age
·Change batteries in smoke alarms twice a year – when you change your clocks, change your batteries
·Place smoke alarms on every level of your home including the basement; inside every sleeping area; and outside every sleeping area
·NEVER smoke in bed, and do not walk away from a lit cigarette – better yet, stop smoking!
·Never leave food cooking unattended – a serious fire can start in just seconds
·Have your chimney inspected and cleaned
·Make sure your furnace and all your appliances are inspected and working properly
·Make sure your space heater is UL listed, and make sure that the cords are not frayed and the heater is in proper working condition
·Never drape curtains or clothes over space heaters
·Develop a home fire escape plan
·Keep exits clear and free of debris
“Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes without working smoke alarms. Having a working smoke alarm greatly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire,” said Kathleen M. Henry, R.N., M.A., acting commissioner of Health. “We encourage residents to take advantage of the free smoke alarms, as we find many residents have outdated smoke alarms or no smoke alarms at all in their homes.”
To contact the Healthy Neighborhood Program for more information, or to schedule a brief home survey, call Christine Wagner at 845-364-3292 or Shari Stopler at 845-364-3290.