By LYDIA BAULER
Local fire departments across 3 counties are giving away free batteries in an effort to bring lifesaving awareness to keeping smoke detectors in working order.
It all began when Captain Allen Weinandy of the Bettsville Volunteer Fire Department wrote to Duracell after fatal fires claimed lives in Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties.
“With all the recent fires in the area, I was talking to some people about how to get working smoke detectors in people’s homes,” said Weinandy. “Of course, you need batteries so I decided to send an e-mail to Duracell to see if they would team up with us in any way.”
Duracell quickly responded and “without hesitation” donated 37,000 9-volt batteries toward the cause, said Weinandy.
Richard Abramowitz, Director of Communications and Government Relations for Duracell, said the request from Bettsville came at perfect time. The company was in the process of donating to 6 larger cities, including Toledo, through Keep America Beautiful, a nationwide nonprofit focused on improving and beautifying communities. Though Fostoria is not part of Keep America Beautiful, the company was moved and ready to supply much needed batteries to help sound the alarm in case of emergency.
“We’re proud to partner with Keep America Beautiful…in their work to promote fire safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, two thirds of all fire deaths occur in homes in which smoke alarms either aren’t present, or aren’t working,” Abramowitz said. “While you can’t always prevent fires, you can always have the trusted power of Duracell in your smoke detectors to alert you.”
Because it started with fatal fires in Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties, the batteries were fittingly distributed to all 29 fire departments in the tri-county area to be passed out in their local communities.
The Department of Job and Family Services of Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties also received batteries to provide additional support for the safety and wellbeing of families, according to Weinandy, who said he hopes people take advantage of the donation and become more aware of at-home fire safety precautions.
“The goal is to bring awareness to having working smoke alarms and an escape plan for kids and families at home,” he said. “For example, my family and I have a plan about what to do in case of a fire. We practice our plan so if there is ever an emergency, everyone has a better understanding about what to do. It’s also important to have a designated meeting place.”
The batteries have already been distributed to many local fire departments, but Weinandy said he hopes the remaining 6,000 are passed out this week as people are reminded during Daylight Savings Time to change the batteries in their alarms.
“We’re hoping to get them out with the time change, which is when we recommend and remind people to change their batteries in their detectors,” the Bettsville fire captain said. “If you stop by your local fire department, they should have some batteries for them.”
Fostoria residents are invited to pick up batteries for their smoke detectors at the Fostoria Fire Division, 233 W. South St., anytime from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Lieutenant Fred Reinhart.
The city’s fire division received 1,050 batteries to distribute throughout the community, Reinhart said. The batteries will be passed out according to the number of smoke detectors in the home until supplies run out.
Fostoria Fire Division has already distributed 20 batteries since they announced their availability on the division’s Facebook page on Saturday.
For more information, call the Fostoria Fire Division at 419-435-3206.