It was another meet the neighbors day this past Saturday in Reseda. MySafe:LA and the Los Angeles Fire Department collaborated for a successful Community Risk Reduction operation, inspecting homes and installing new 10-year smoke alarms in homes at risk due to a lack of working detectors. Teaming-up with firefighters from fire station 73, part of the LAFD’s Operations Valley Bureau (Battalion 17), two MySafe:LA installation installation/education crews canvassed scores of homes on Capps Avenue, Yolanda Avenue, Rhea Avenue, and Wyandotte Street, just north of Sherman Way and just West of Reseda Boulevard.
Also joining the smoke alarm canvassing effort was Senior Field Deputy Jenny Portillo, with the office of Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who showed up on her own time; and was a tremendous asset, working with us as a translator for residents who only spoke Spanish.
“I was very happy to join MySafe:LA and the LAFD in the free smoke alarm canvassing operation,” said Ms. Portillo. “I had a great time meeting the residents of Reseda, and seeing first-hand how MySafe:LA is helping to keep them safe … one smoke alarm at a time.”
Following a proven canvassing strategy, MySafe:LA teams pre-canvassed the targeted neighborhoods — which were chosen for specific risk factors — a week before the installation operation, leaving door-hangers on homes informing residents that teams would be in their neighborhood the following Saturday. On the day of the actual canvassing, Light Force 73, accompanied by Battalion 17 Chief John Drake, knocked on doors, explained the program, and set up appointments for the MySafe:LA installation teams. Folks who weren’t home got a door-hanger with information on how to set-up an installation appointment at a later date.
“Seeing the big red fire engine, rescue ambulance, and ladder trucks in their neighborhood draws residents’ attention,” said MySafe:LA Executive Officer David Barrett. “When they come outside to see what’s going on, we let them know that our services are entirely free of charge, including both alarms and installation. Plus, firefighters get a chance to meet their neighbors, which is what community relations is all about.”
In all, the MySafe:LA teams installed 106 smoke alarms during the one-day operation, and delivered fire safety education during the visit, including family fire escape planning and how to minimize fire dangers in the home. An additional 10 appointments for the installation of alarms were set up (potentially increasing the total of alarms installed by 40 – 50). One team installed smoke alarms in the separate homes of two women in their 90’s, still living independently in their homes. These women, whose advanced years make them (statistically) twice as likely to die in a fire, are safer now that they have complete smoke alarm coverage in their homes.
One of the installation teams also encountered a single-family home that was converted into an apartment of sorts, with locked, private rooms, housing at least a dozen people. The team installed smoke alarms in all rooms to which they had access. And the fire department and council office are now aware of a potentially dangerous situation in their district.
MySafe:LA plans to conduct similar free smoke alarm installation canvassing efforts in all four of the LAFD Bureaus during the course of 2016, and beyond. If you need smoke alarms in your home, visit us online and make a reservation. We’re ready to help anyone who lives in the City of Los Angeles and is in need of free smoke alarms. www.mysmokealarm.org