Smoke detector check essential

Story and photo by Rick Scavetta
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

Service members must inspect smoke detectors at home, said U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s fire chief, who said a simple check can mean the difference between life and death.

Juergen Stegner recently read a news story about a 2-month-old girl in Chicago who died in a June 20 fire. Investigators there found smoke alarms without working batteries, he said.

“I never want to see a story like this about one of our local military members or their families,” Stegner said. “No one should die because of a missing or dead battery. People need to check their smoke alarms today when they get home.”
According to a three-year study by the National Fire Protection Association, 40 percent of deaths occurred in home fires with no smoke alarms present and 23 percent were in houses where alarms didn’t work.

In Germany’s Rheinland-Pfalz region, landlords must provide working smoke alarms prior to tenants moving in. If service members don’t have working smoke alarms, they should install them immediately — one in each bedroom and one in each hallway, Stegner said. The local posts exchange has alarms and fresh batteries.

Stegner said anyone with questions about smoke alarms or fire safety at home should call the local fire prevention office at