City offers free smoke alarms to LA residents

Monday, September 8, 2014
City offers free smoke alarms to LA residents
Mayor Garcetti announced a new push Monday to make sure residents of Los Angeles have smoke detectors to help prevent fire-related deaths.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a new push Monday to make sure residents of Los Angeles have smoke detectors. The Los Angeles Fire Department will provide all city residents with a free smoke alarm to help prevent fire-related deaths.

"We have smoke detectors available for free," said Garcetti at a West Adams news conference. "That's right: In every fire station around this city, Angelenos, we have smoke detectors for free."

Garcetti says the smoke alarms are donated to the fire department and will not cost the taxpayer anything.

"This doesn't have an impact on our city budget, but it does have a positive impact on our city budget if we can prevent the resources that have to go into these tragic situations," said Garcetti.

So far this year there have been 20 fire-related deaths in the city of Los Angeles. In 16 of those cases, smoke alarms had not been installed, or they were not working.

A devastating fire in L.A.'s West Adams district in July killed a 90-year-old man, and investigators later learned that there were no working smoke alarms in the house. Garcetti stood in front of that burned-out house Monday and lamented how a smoke detector might have saved victim Ray Isum's life.

"A working smoke alarm increases the chance of surviving a house fire by 50 percent," said Garcetti. "So we know that what we will do here today will quite literally save lives."

The fire department also announced an expansion of the Smoke Alarm Field Education (SAFE) Program, which calls for firefighters to canvass certain neighborhoods, providing free smoke alarms, batteries and fire-safety training.

The program will start at Fire Station 65 in Watts and eventually it will spread to the more than 100 fire stations throughout Los Angeles.

"We have a lot of go-getters there, so I wanted to start there, add a different content to their program, then evaluate it and de-bug it, and then spread it out to the rest of the city," said L.A. Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas.

"One or two breaths of this toxic smoke that's produced by fires inside of our house can kill us, can knock us out, and then there's no chance we're going to get out," said Todd Leitz, spokesman for MySafe:LA, the fire and life-safety public education partner of the L.A. Fire Department.

After Monday's news conference, Mayor Garcetti knocked on the door of a West Adams resident and asked him if his smoke alarms needed to be replaced. The surprised resident agreed.

"I appreciate it," said the resident.