Nonprofit Offers Free Smoke Alarm Installations for Seniors

March 2, 2018

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Courtesy of the Burn Institute

Thousands of adults age 65 and older throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties are living in homes without properly functioning smoke alarms, according to the Burn Institute.

In an effort to decrease that number, the local nonprofit agency is offering free smoke alarm installations for individuals 62 years or older through the Senior Smoke Alarm Program.

Providing seniors with smoke alarms, proper installation, and education on preventative measures, is something that Ricardo Moran, director of prevention programs for the Burn Institute, said can help reduce the likelihood of a disaster.

According to Moran, the program focuses on seniors because they tend to have fixed incomes and physical limitations, which can become barriers to having a safe home.

According to the Burn Institute, functioning smoke alarms should be installed in every bedroom of a house, on every floor and outside of each sleeping area in the home.

Smoke alarms can range from $20 to $25 and taking into consideration that alarms need to be installed in multiple areas of a home, the cost can add up, Moran said.

He also highlighted that installing smoke alarms is not hard but it can be tedious work for someone of a more advanced age.

According to the United States Fire Administration, people ages 85 or older have the highest fire death rate in the country.

The Burn Institute recommends that San Diego seniors make sure their home is equipped with an operating smoke alarm and have a fire escape plan.

“In a fire, seconds count,” Burn Institute Executive Director Susan Day said in a press release. “Roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spread, giving seniors enough time to get out.”

Moran said volunteers provide seniors with free smoke alarms, installation and also work with them to make an evacuation plan and identify possible barriers to escaping a home in case of a fire.

“Having the education and reminders goes a long way into stopping the disasters,” Moran said.

The nonprofit provides fire and burn prevention educations, funding for burn research and treatment, and provides programs for burn survivors in San Diego.

Moran said the Burn Institute is always looking for volunteers especially Spanish speaking volunteers for outreach in South Bay communities.

Those interested in receiving a new smoke alarm and free installation, can sign up for the program and check if they are eligible by calling 858-541-2277, extension 13.

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