Sound The Alarm
Between 2014 and 2017, four people living within the borders of Adams County Fire Rescue lost their lives in a structure fire. At least three of those didn’t have a working smoke alarm in their homes. Two of them, were elderly living in mobile homes. That is why on May 5th, 2018, ACFR joined forces with the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter to “Sound the Alarm” in one of the largest mobile home complexes in the district, the Berkeley Village between Sheridan Blvd. and Tennyson St., just south of Highway 76. “We feel those four lives could have been saved if they had just had a working smoke alarm,” Deputy Chief Stuart Sunderland said. “If there’s any way we can get a smoke detector in every house in our district, we’ll do it, no matter what the cost. This partnership with the Red Cross is one way we can start that process.”
Deputy Fire Marshals Chris Wilder, Brian Notary, Fire Inspector Matt Morgan, Captain Thom Jeffries, Engineer Heath Sayers, Fire Medic Jason Bierwirth, Firefighter Brandon Donner and Community Outreach Specialist Carlos Briano joined Sunderland in knocking on doors, installing smoke alarms and creating home evacuation plans at 117 homes. An additional 33 volunteers from the Red Cross, Metro State University, University of Denver and Bollman Technical High School joined the ACFR employees in the operation. A total of 259 smoke alarms were installed on May 5th, 2018. “It was our first time partnering with Adams County Fire Rescue,” said Ashley Turner, Volunteer Services Manager for the Red Cross Mile High Chapter. “It was really great to see the community come together to support this. It shows there is a great need in this area.” Sunderland’s was completely surprised at the amount of homes that didn’t have a single working smoke alarm. “It was a shock to me,” Sunderland said. “The problem is much worse than I imagined. Thankfully, we installed smoke alarms in over 25% of the homes at Berkeley Village. I know we’ll be getting calls from more of the residents when they see they missed our visit.”
Kevin Hammons, lecturer at Metro State University, and former Fire Marshal for Aurora Fire Rescue, believes these types of community outreach events are an integral part of the fire service. He says that’s what the Fire Science program at Metro State is teaching future firefighters. “Fighting fires in mobile homes is very dangerous,” Hammons said. “When we know residents are safely out of the home during the fire, we place firefighters in less risk. So not only are these projects protecting our residents, they are also protecting our firefighters.” If you do not have any smoke alarms in your home, in the Berkeley Village, in the ACFR boundaries or in the greater Denver area, you can call the Red Cross Mile High Chapter at 303-607-4753 to make an appointment.