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Smoke alarms given to every home

Volunteers completed their door-to-door mission to deliver free smoke detectors to every home in Somerset this past weekend, distributing more than 800 alarms.

"We were shocked to finish this, but we worked from 9:30 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon Saturday and visited every home," said Town Clerk Rebecca Connolly, who led the effort. "We had so many volunteers and drivers, we divided the town into 10 routes, and when people completed their route, they'd help out on another."

About three dozen volunteers from the Barker Fire Department, Barker Boy Scout Troop 26, town offices and the community offered two free smoke alarms per home and checked to see that existing alarms worked.

When they visited residences where no one was home, they left a bag of information, including a contact number to call Town Hall and make arrangements to either pick up the free alarms or have them delivered, Connolly said.

"We also have a form residents need to fill out, asking how many working smoke alarms they have, as well as a carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher, so we can tally the numbers and see if we should pursue this program further," she added.

Connolly said volunteers were surprised at the number of homes "that had no smoke detectors at all," but that more than half of the homes visited had at least one working alarm.

Retiree Lorraine Wayner, who also serves as the town historian, said she and her husband had one working smoke alarm in their one-story Barker home but gladly accepted two more.

"We already had one near our bedroom, and we had checked it Saturday morning and knew it worked, but we put an extra one near the other two bedrooms and another in the basement," she said. "This was really wonderful. And the information in the packet was very good -- I sat down and read it Saturday night."

The town purchased 1,500 smoke alarms for $6,100, largely through donations from a handful of local companies, Connolly said. She said she spearheaded the effort to supply the town's 1,200 households with free smoke alarms following a number of fatal house fires in Western New York in recent months.

For more information, contact Connolly at Town Hall at 795-3575.


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