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Fire officials push use of 'fire alarms'

Illinois has the fourth highest residential fire death rate in the country, which is why the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance wants you to be “Alarmed.”

The alliance has partnered with the Office of the State Fire Marshal to make sure as many homes as possible have working smoke alarms in Illinois.

Philip Zaleski, the executive director of the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, said the goal of the “Alarmed” program is for local fire departments to identify high-risk areas in their own communities and help them protect themselves.

“They will not only install smoke alarms to protect the folks living in those homes, but they will also provide them with fire safety education,” Zaleski said.

The smoke alarms aren’t your typical nine-volt battery smoke alarms, according to Zaleski.

“These (are) 10-year concealed battery alarms," Zaleski said. "The battery will last 10 years, which is the life of the smoke alarm, and there’s no way to remove that battery."

Zaleski said he expects to distribute and install a minimum of 4,300 smoke alarms, but that number could go up.

“If we are lucky enough to (find) some additional partners that have a like-minded mission, we’ll be able to expand on those number of alarms distributed on an annual basis,” Zaleski said.

Statistics say if you do have a working smoke alarm in your home, the odds of you getting out and escaping unharmed goes up significantly, according to Zaleski.

In addition to saving lives, having a working smoke alarm can help homeowners save money if a fire breaks out.

“The quicker that you can identify that there is a fire taking place, the quicker you can call the fire department, the quicker they get to your home, and the more likelihood of them minimizing the fire or smoke damage,” Zaleski said.

Zaleski said if you do not have the means to purchase a smoke alarm, contact your local fire department and they may be able to assist you.

94.1 WGFA