Thomas Twp. firefighters reward safe houses
THOMAS TWP. – Since 2001, Thomas Township firefighters have taken part in a twice-yearly effort associated with time changes to encourage residents to make sure their smoke detectors are functioning properly. The fire department partners with pizza restaurants, Little Caesar’s and Eudici’s, to make random checks at customers’ homes. This year, the TTFD visited 10 homes between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, just before the end of Daylight Savings Time.
Assistant Chief Joe Giacoletti, who also serves as the township’s fire inspector, said fire fighters wait for a pizza order to come in, then roll out to help deliver the pizza in their firetruck. Once they arrive, if they find the customer has a properly installed and functional smoke detector, the firefighters reward the customer by paying for their pizza. If the home does not have a functional smoke detector, instead of pizza the home gets either free batteries or a new smoke detector to help make it safer.
“It seems like the last two or three years there had been a bit of a decline, but we did 10 this time,” Giacoletti said. “We try to associate (testing smoke detectors) with the time change so it gets done twice a year. Energizer (the battery company) started a national event, so through them I was able to win a grant this past year and I got 400 nine-volt batteries.”
Giacoletti said the Thomas Township Firefighters Association covers the cost of event as a way of helping foster goodwill in the community.
“The pizza part, we pay money out of each check that goes into the association,” he said. “It’s the firefighters’ own money paying for that part. No tax money is used for this program.
Since 2001, the firefighters have visited an average of eight to 10 homes per evening for the event.
“It’s been a pretty good ongoing project,” Giacoletti said. “We try to do random orders so (people know) it’s not guaranteed to happen. Then, while they’re checking the smoke detectors we encourage them to check their carbon monoxide detectors also. A lot of homes do not have CO alarms.”
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