City of Upper Arlington, Ohio

Smoke Detector Program

Message from the Fire Chief:
In 2001, Upper Arlington experienced two separate incidents that resulted in our first fire fatalities in over twenty years. While the circumstances that led to these two fires were very different, there was one common element. In both cases it was found that smoke detector function was impaired due to improper installation or maintenance. In one of the fires there were three detectors in the residence, none of which had batteries in them. There were seven additional detectors found in adjoining units, but not one was working. This is not just an Upper Arlington problem, but also one that has been found throughout the United States. Statistics now show that there are more homes with non-working smoke detectors in the country than there are homes with no detectors.

As Upper Arlington's fire chief, it concerns me greatly that we have residents in our town living every day with a false sense of security. They know they have detectors and just assume they will work when needed. Unless you have tested the detector and replaced the batteries regularly, chances are it will not work.

Since these fires, our division has implemented a program we hope will cut through some of the apathy toward smoke detectors and fires in general. Short of going door-to-door in the entire city, we cannot reach every household. We need your help in doing your part to ensure the protection of you and your family.

What I have instructed firefighters to do is that when they are in a house for any type of run, and time and circumstances are appropriate, to offer to check smoke detectors, and replace batteries and/or install a detector if needed. Emergency vehicles have been equipped with batteries, detectors, and the proper tools for installation. If you need this type of assistance and do not want to wait until we might be at your house, please call our Fire Prevention Office at 614-583-5115 and we will make sure someone can assist you.

As firefighters we see or read about fire deaths every day that could have been prevented by a $2.00 battery or a $10.00 smoke detector. We always wonder why so many people ignore something so important. Recently I have wondered and worried about how many people in Upper Arlington go to bed every night thinking that the detector will work when needed, but are not willing to spend the time or money to make sure they are protected.

We as firefighters have taken an oath to protect the citizens of Upper Arlington from fire. The most efficient way is to make sure that working smoke detectors protect every household. I cannot personally, nor can my firefighters, check every smoke detector in the city. We need your help. Please check your detectors and make sure they work.

In the interest of public safety,

Jeff Young
Fire Chief