Free smoke detectors kick off Fire Prevention Month


The Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and American Red Cross NMI Chapter went around Koblerville and Kagman villages last Oct. 1, installing smoke detectors and replacing batteries of old ones free of charge to kick off the start of Fire Prevention Month.

DFEMS’ Stuart Peter of the Enforcement Section said they will eventually visit every village to install the free smoke detectors, courtesy of the American Red Cross.

“We are going around the community doing a fire alarm program by Red Cross, and we are installing fire alarms for people that need it. If they have an existing detector, we change the battery,” he said.

Peter said that supplies are limited. “We are going around every village as long as supplies last. There are only 800 available from Red Cross,” said Peter. “We’re supposed to be doing it every Saturday of October, in celebration of Fire Prevention Month. If we don’t finish it, it is up to Red Cross if they still require our assistance.”

Red Cross volunteer Severene L. Kosam said the program also educates families on how to maintain the smoke detectors and help them devise an escape route in the event of a fire.

“We talk to them on how to do an escape plan in case there is a fire. We also let them know that the detectors last for 10 years, so all they need to do is just keep it clean.”

The free smoke detectors are only for those who wish to have them installed. “We ask first if they would like to have it installed. If they do, we will educate them on what to do,” said Kosam.

Although people can deny the installation of a smoke detector, installing is the safer route for one’s family, Kosam said. “Give us the time to install the smoke detector. That way it is safe for you and the kids.”

A resident of Koblerville, Rita Villagomez, said she is happy that the fire department and Red Cross are doing this and that she appreciates it.

“I’m touched and shocked because we’ve never had this for the longest time, and I’m just glad that I accepted them to come in, because the items are free. Where are we going get these things for free?” asked Villagomez. “This is very important for the safety of our family, and I’m just hoping that the rest will welcome the Red Cross and the Fire Department to install something that is very important to a family.”

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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