|Smoke Detectors: Proven to Save Lives
The Milwaukee Fire Department and the Mayor’s Office collaborated to develop Project FOCUS (Firefighters Out Creating Urban Safety) in 1991. FOCUS was created to address the fact that out of the 113 people who died in fires between 1987 and 1991, 91 of the victims perished in homes with no smoke detector, a disconnected smoke detector, or a detector without batteries.
Project FOCUS is the MFD’s response and a proactive approach to this disturbing fact. The program has had an immediate positive impact on fire deaths in the city and aims to target areas in the community that have experienced a high number of structural fires and/or fire-related deaths in the past two years. Project FOCUS allows on-duty firefighters to target a neighborhood and conduct a door-to-door campaign intended to educate residents on fire safety and prevention.
Project FOCUS takes place every year in spring and fall for three weeks. During those three weeks, firefighters visit every home in a targeted neighborhood to test or install smoke detectors, replace batteries, and perform blood pressure screenings—all at no cost to the recipients. The Milwaukee Fire Department will also perform a “Mini-Focus” as necessary in the immediate neighborhood where a fire fatality occurred.
Since Project FOCUS was implemented, more than 20,000 smoke detectors have been installed in residences. All of the smoke detectors installed since 2005 are tamper-proof, feature a 10-year lithium ion battery and hush button as required by the City of Milwaukee fire code. This year, firefighters will visit more than 6,000 homes.
It is critically important for Milwaukee residents to have working smoke detectors in their homes. It is an early detection and life-saving device in the event of a fire. It can give you and your family those extra seconds that count when faced with smoke and flames. Check your smoke detector today, and make sure to check it on a monthly basis. If you do not have a working smoke detector you can request one to be installed by calling the Milwaukee Fire Department Smoke Detector Hotline (414) 286-8980.