Troy firefighter Will Bayko helps Rachel Lee of Troy and her father get some practice on a fire hose during the department’s open house Oct. 3.

Troy firefighter Will Bayko helps Rachel Lee of Troy and her father get some practice on a fire hose during the department’s open house Oct. 3.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Troy firefighters educate on smoke, CO alarms

Open house focuses on safety as colder weather increases risks

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published October 8, 2021

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TROY — The Troy Fire Department hosted open houses at all of its fire houses across the city on Oct. 3, in order to let the community get to know their local firefighters and to promote fire safety as Michigan heads into the cold weather months.

Members of the public could explore the fire stations, try out certain equipment and ask fire experts questions about what to do in the event of an emergency.

Donald Hudson, the assistant chief at Fire Station 1, said that the department wants the Troy community to know their local department and to be able to experience what department members go through every day.

“At our open houses we always encourage public safety and public knowledge,” he said. “The whole purpose of the open house is to give the public a look at our fire stations and the people who are protecting the city. Also, it lets them mingle with the firefighters. We love our job and we love being in the public’s eye. A lot of people living in Troy still don’t know we’re a volunteer department.”

The firefighters particularly stressed getting to know the sounds of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors so people know what to do if one starts going off.

“This year’s theme is learn the sounds of beeps, and basically, it’s all directed around our fire detectors at home,” Hudson explained. “Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors each have a different chirp. We want people to know the chirps, so if it’s chirping instead of beeping, it means change the batteries,” he said. “Programs like this let people know how to use a fire extinguisher, what common fire risks are, and so forth.”

“This year is learning the sounds of fire safety, and we’re looking at smoke alarms versus CO alarms and the differences between three beeps versus four beeps,” added Lt. Brandon Hall. “If you hear three beeps, get out and stay out. Make sure you have an escape plan ahead of time so you know everyone can get outside and then meet up outside to make sure everyone is accounted for.”

Hall said that there are a number of resources available for people to learn more about smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or obtain them, sometimes for free.

“Smoke alarms are what we are pushing this year,” said Hall. “You can go to www.nfpa.org or www.firepreventionweek.org and find out information about how and where to get smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. They also have information on making home escape plans, fire extinguisher use and more. … Any hardware store like Lowe’s or Home Depot also will have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for sale if you want to just go out and buy them.”

More information also is available on the Troy Fire Department’s website, troymi.gov/departments/fire_department.

Hudson said stressing fire safety in the autumn is especially important since the risks for fires always go up as the cold winter months approach.

“As we get into colder weather and the holiday season, people tend to use more extension cords, since they are using a lot more lights,” he said. “We want people to know what is and isn’t safe there. With space heaters, we want people to make sure they are properly vented and not too close to anything. Christmas trees can dry out, so tree fires can still happen, even if you’re using cooler LED lights. In the winter, people open their fireplaces for the first time in a long time. The most important thing there is to make sure they have their flue open. If it’s closed, all of that smoke and toxic gas can spread into the home. Furnaces can leak carbon monoxide, so it’s even more important to have a good carbon monoxide detector. It’s a silent, poisonous gas that can kill people.”

Hall added that while some fire safety measures can cost money sometimes, the cost of not taking those measures into account can be far greater.

“The biggest thing with cold weather coming is to make sure you get your appliances serviced so they are cleaned out and you know they are in correct working order,” Hall said. “If you use a generator, make sure you don’t have them running inside the home or inside a garage. As chimneys are used more, make sure those are cleaned out so the combustibles inside are reduced. … The best way is to hire a professional to come and clean them.”

Both Hudson and Hall said they are happy to bring people into the department because the best tool for fire safety is proactively reaching out to the community.

“We want people to know their local firefighters, we want them to be safe, and we want them to know what they need to be safe,” remarked Hudson.

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