St. Lawrence County works to get smoke, CO alarms to elderly

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 4:15 PM EST
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - The death of a 90-year-old man in Morristown last week has agencies doubling down on fire safety programs. First up: getting more smoke detectors into the homes of the elderly.

They’ll be serving up more than cookies and meals at the St. Lawrence County Office for the Aging. They’ll be serving up smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

“It is something we always check on during our home assessments, but we thought maybe there are some other seniors in the county that we’re not aware of that could really use these smoke detectors that will help better protect them in the event of a fire at their home,” said Andrea Montgomery, Office for the Aging director.

The fire that killed 90-year-old Levi Kio in Morristown last week has inspired the new effort. Kio’s home had smoke alarms. But, the death drives home how the elderly are particularly at risk in fires.

“These are folks who tend to be most vulnerable, most in need of services,” said Montgomery.

And it’s not just any smoke and carbon monoxide alarm the elderly will get. They’ll get ones with sealed, 10-year batteries. No need to get up and down ladders to change them every year. There’s no doubt smoke alarms save lives.

“Smoke alarms are huge for early detection of any kind of fire. You can be sound asleep, or not even paying attention, and a smoke alarm will pick up and alert the residents of the house to get out,” said Matt Denner, St. Lawrence County Emergency Services director.

Plans are still being formed, but local fire departments may do the actual installations. The Red Cross also has a program that sends out installers. They’ll provide three smoke alarms per household.

The Ogdensburg Lowe’s already donated 20 smoke alarms and 20 carbon monoxide alarms.

More donations are needed. New, packaged alarms can be dropped off at the Office for the Aging. Or monetary donations can be sent to Office for the Aging, 80 State Highway 310, Suite 7, Canton, NY, 13617.

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