Sioux Falls Fire Rescue asks for smoke alarm checks after recent fires

SFFR said many of the recent structure fires in the city had one thing in common: they were missing working smoke alarms.
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 3:47 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Every second counts when a fire breaks out in a home. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is reminding residents that the most important step in fire prevention starts with the, and what they have in their homes.

July has been a busy month for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, responding to several structure fires within the last few weeks. The department said that many of them had one thing in common: they were missing working smoke alarms.

MORE: Police: Two fatal fires under investigation in Sioux Falls

Fire Inspector Brandon Fey said that early notification is key to stopping fires as early as possible, and working smoke alarms are the best way to stay safe. He said while their average response time as a department was just over six minutes last year, that’s six minutes from when a call was made for help.

“Studies show that a fire can double in size every minute. If you don’t have that early detection from a smoke alarm, that fire’s going to keep doubling in size until somehow you’re woken up. Whether it’s from the neighbor, or a dog or an animal, or you just wake up.” Fey said.

Division Chief Steve Fessler said the string of fires is also a reminder to residents of Sioux Falls that they have access to free smoke alarms by calling 211. That program helps residents check their alarms, and provides and installs alarms if a residence doesn’t have any. For those living in rental properties however, that responsibility to maintain alarms falls to property management.

“You call them, they’ll help schedule the time and get it all put together. Either an inspector will come out and make sure that everything is in working order, or we’ll have a crew come out and take a look at things and install for you.” Fessler said.

Fey said residents should be testing their alarms every month, and check the batteries in them at least twice a year if they’re not hardwired into the residence. He said smoke alarms need to be replaced every ten years.

“So a lot of people think that they’re sitting up on the wall, it’s out of sight, out of mind. They think they’re up there, they’re always working. But, are the batteries there, have you tested them? If it’s older than ten years, they need to be replaced. So just because you have them, doesn’t mean they’re going to be working.” Fey said.

More information about SFFR’s Smoke Alarm Program and the Helpline Center 211 can be found here.

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