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Letter: Governor should sign smoke alarm legislation

Governor should sign smoke alarm legislation

A June 23 fire in Amherst badly injured a 74-year-old man, who survived thanks to the heroics of the volunteer firefighters of the Eggertsville Hose Company. The home was not equipped with working smoke alarms, which would have provided the senior resident with early warning when the fire began.

Sadly, this is not uncommon. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three of every five home fire deaths in the United States occur in homes without working smoke alarms.

As firefighters, we frequently encounter alarms that are disconnected or missing batteries, as well as homes that lack smoke alarms altogether. Residents in these homes are at serious risk in the event of a fire. Furthermore, a lack of smoke alarms puts firefighters, who must search for trapped victims, in greater danger.

Working smoke alarms save lives, and are especially critical in the case of senior citizens. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that senior citizens are 2.7 times more likely to perish in a fire than the general population. Senior citizens account for 35 percent of all fire deaths in the United States despite representing only 13 percent of the population. Simply put, fire is much more dangerous to seniors, who need every possible second to escape.

The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York is supporting legislation that would require all battery-operated smoke alarms sold in New York to be equipped with non-removable, sealed-in batteries capable of powering the device for at least 10 years. This bill has been passed by both the New York State Senate and Assembly, and FASNY urges the governor to sign this bill into law. Doing so will make New York safer for residents and firefighters alike.

Ed Tase

FASNY Board of Directors

Frontier Volunteer Hose Company