Home security video from Joplin Missouri reminder smoke alarms save lives

La Crosse police emphasize importance of working smoke alarms
Smoke Alarms
Home fires claim seven lives every day but having working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death by half according to the American Red Cross.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Home fires claim seven lives every day but having working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death by half, according to the American Red Cross. Officials warn and remind people of this device every year and some people don’t have smoke alarms in place.

“It is one of the most important things people can do to protect themselves,” said Battalion Chief Jeff Schott, with the La Crosse Police Department. “I think the awareness has grown. We still, unfortunately, have those fires and those fatalities every year that reminds us how important it is to do the things we are talking about.”

Schott has the personal experience to back up the fact smoke alarms save lives.

“I have been with the La Crosse Fire Department for almost 20 years now,” Schott said. “It is a very good chance if it is working that you get out alive and with your family.”

Data from the National Fire Protection Association shows smoke alarms were present in 74 percent of reported home fires in 2012-2016. Almost three out of five home fire deaths in 2012-2016 were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms.

The Joplin Fire Department in Missouri dealt with a fire last weekend. The home security video shows a child sleeping on a couch. A fire starts on the porch and makes its way inside.

A fire alarm system alerted this family and no one was hurt. Similar situations have happened in La Crosse.

“It was a porch fire just over on Division Street,” Schott said. “Those residents were alerted and got out of the house in time.”

Schott says to make sure smoke alarms in the right place.

“That is on every floor including your basement,” he said. “We recommend they be within 6 feet of a bedroom like a bedroom hallway.”

Have a plan for the unexpected.

“We know that kids in schools are well rehearsed in their fire drills, but you have to do the same thing at home,” Schott said.

The American Red Cross does give away free smoke alarms. Wisconsin law does require smoke alarms in homes.