Free smoke detectors available for mobile homes

Sean C. Morgan

Residents of Sweet Home’s manufactured home parks can have smoke detectors installed free in November.

“We’re targeting trailer courts based on the historical fire loss in our community and the frequency of fire loss in the trailer courts in regard to life and safety,” said Fire Chief Dave Barringer. The idea is to effectively target an area where the fire department can make a significant impact.

In most manufactured home parks, the property is not occupant-owned, while the manufactured home is, Barringer said. That means the landlord isn’t responsible for installing or replacing smoke detectors.

Last year, after a presentation by the state fire marshal’s office, the Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District installed 56 smoke detectors, Barringer said.

From the state fire marshal’s office, the Sweet Home district officials learned that the Red Cross offers free smoke detectors, Barringer said. This year the district wanted to run the program again, so it’s made contact with the Red Cross, which is scheduling appointments for Nov. 19 to install smoke detectors.

The program requires them to be installed by the Red Cross or firefighters to ensure they are installed correctly, in the correct locations in a home.

“They want to help,” Barringer said. “And it doesn’t take us away from calls and our call volume.”

Firefighter-Paramedic Mike Severns, health and safety officer, went to park managers to inform them about the program. They were responsive, and “they seemed pretty excited about it.”

The managers are collecting lists of residents who want them, he said.

“It’s a neglected thing,” Sev-erns said. “They don’t think about it.”

It may be that someone takes the dying battery from a chirping smoke detector, without knowing what the chirping means, he said. For a number of reasons, smoke detectors are disabled or removed.

According to a 2013 study by the National Fire Protection Association, in 1989 to 1998, where smoke alarm status was reported, smoke detectors were missing in 51 percent of all manufactured home fires, implying “a disturbingly high rate of smoke alarm removal by occupants.”

They also may not be replaced frequently enough, Severns said. They should be replaced every 10 years.

Right now, the SHFAD will focus on manufactured home parks, Severns said. In the future, it may focus on other areas.

Anyone who is interested should contact the park manager.

For more information about the program or about smoke detectors, call the fire department at (541) 367-5882.

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