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Free home smoke alarms, installation available to help save lives

FRENCHVILLE, Maine — Fire Chief Peter Parent is well aware of the importance of having working smoke detectors inside a home.

Parent, who was brought on as the town’s new fire chief in January has more than 31 years of experience, 14 of those years as the chief of the Madawaska department.

Recently, Parent said firemen with his department are ready to work with homeowners to help them with selecting and installing smoke detectors. The department, like many others, also works with the local Red CRoss office on that organization’s smoke detector installation program.

Interested residents may call the Frenchville town office at 543-7301. Homeowners in other towns may contact their local fire department. The Red Cross’s Aroostook office may be reached at 874-1192, ext. 113, where arrangements may be made to schedule smoke alarm installations.

There is no cost to homeowners to have the detectors installed. Parent said there is no limit to how many detectors may be requested in each home. Firefighters and installers also will help determine the best locations inside the home to place them.

Many of today’s smoke alarms have an internal battery that can last up to 10 years, Parent said. Detectors should be checked regularly, and those with removable batteries should have them changed twice  a year.

Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency director Darren Woods said Wednesday that having smoke detectors inside a home is “extremely important in saving lives.”

The Red Cross also encourages everyone to develop and practice their fire escape plans. The organization responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States and the vast majority of those are home fires.

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