A (working) smoke detector in every home

Michael Hilton, a tillerman on Truck 1 at the Covington Fire Department, installs a smoke detector.

Covington Fire Department partners with schools to protect families from fires

COVINGTON, Ky. – What with burning candles, space heaters, crackling fireplaces, and drying Christmas tree needles, ‘tis the season for house fires … so Covington fire officials want to make sure that every home has at least one working smoke detector.

Almost 800 fires a year in the United States are started by holiday decorations, with 160 or so of those started within the tree itself, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Now, thanks to a partnership between the Covington Fire Department and the Covington Partners school organization, firefighters in the City have installed more than 100 smoke detectors in homes where none existed.

It’s all part of an outreach program called “Sound-Off” offered through the National Fire Academy. The program connects fire departments with schools for fire safety education, in particular the importance of having a working smoke detector in the home.

“The program is geared toward kids in 2nd and 3rd grades and teaches them about fire alarms, what to do if one goes off, and to have a safety plan they can bring home to their parents,” said Greg Salmons, Covington’s Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention.

The issue is critically important.

Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that almost 3 out of 5 home fire deaths result from fires in properties with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that failed to operate.

Julie Muehlenkamp, Health and Wellness Coordinator with Covington Partners (which works with Covington schools to promote positive youth development through collaborations), delivers the program to students.

As part of that work, she collects the names of students whose homes lack smoke detectors and delivers that list to Covington firefighters, who then purchase detectors and install them.

Meanwhile, Muehlenkamp keeps the dialogue going in the classroom about fire safety.

“We talk about fire escape plans and having an escape route in case there’s a fire,” said Muehlenkamp. “The hope is to get our students to learn how smoke alarms help their families stay safe.”


If your family needs a smoke detector, call the Covington Fire Department’s Co. 1 at (859) 431-0462 and ask for the House Captain on duty.