Fire fatalities are often preventable through education and the use of working smoke detectors — life savers, according to Houston Fire Chief Terry Garrison.
"You got a hundred things going on in your life, and you really don't think about that smoke detector until someone hopefully reminds you, or you have a fire and then it's too late. What we tell children is, your smoke detector is your nose at night. And it sounds kind of silly, but we almost have to use that kind of vernacular with adults sometimes to say, 'This will save your life.'"
The Department's Laura Hunter says they outreach extensively to citizens who may not have a working smoke detector.
"We have number of ways that we get the detectors out into the community. We give them out through churches, civic clubs, super neighborhood organizations. We have them in the fire station where any citizen can go to their local fire station. If they do not have a way to install the smoke alarm in their home or someone to assist them, the fire station will go out and install it for them in their home at no cost."
Crystal Robinson is with Kidde, a major contributor to the Operation Save a Life campaign.
"Many times fires occur in the middle of the night, so if you're asleep you may not know that a fire is occurring. So, smoke alarms are really your first line of defense when there's a fire in your home. The important thing is to remember to test all of your alarms monthly, whether its smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms, and replace batteries twice a year. So, spring forward, fall back with the time change, make sure you change your batteries then, as well."
Smoke detectors are regularly donated to fire departments to install in low income housing.