Lexington Fire Dept. working to put smoke detectors in every home

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A smoke detectors beep is loud and distinct, but that sound can mean precious minutes in a fiery situation.

"They have obviously reduced the amount of fire death loss throughout the country," explained Lt. Keith Smith of the Lexington Fire Department.

Firefighters say nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes without a working smoke detector.

However, some people won't hear that sound because they don't have a smoke detector, or simply think it's a waste of time said Lt. Smith.

"They're too hard to maintain, they chirp when the batteries go low, so they don't want to get up and replace it. There's a gambit of reasons that we've heard," answered the firefighter.

Just last month, a couple and their son were killed in their Lexington home by a fire, and firefighters say they did not have any working smoke detectors in the house. Shortly after, the call for smoke detectors spiked around town.

"We went through and installed 50," recalled Lt. Smith.

This problem is nothing new. In fact, the Lexington Fire Department has been working to help every family install a detector in their homes, helping those who don't have one or cannot afford one.

"These giveaways are for those who specifically don't have them. We will work with everybody else," described Lt. Smith, "We feel that everybody needs at least one in the house. Preferably one in every bedroom, one outside the bedrooms, and one on every level (of the house)."

At the past several giveaways, the fire department said they've given away dozens of smoke detectors. At one event they even gave away 100, highlighting a very real need Lt. Smith said.

"It convinced us enough that we went out and applied for this grant. There's an opportunity to do it and that was what we decided was to get smoke detectors for every area of the community."

While some detectors can be more than ten dollars, some are as cheap as a few bucks and will work just as well, according to an investigation WKYT did last February with the fire department. Still these firefighters say having a detector shouldn't be about dollars and cents, it's about common sense.

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