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Applegate Valley Fire District Warns of Possible Smoke Alarm Scam

The fire district has received reports of a man attempting to sell 'high tech' fire safety systems for as much as $2500.

Posted: Apr. 27, 2018 5:29 PM

APPLEGATE, Ore. — Applegate Valley residents have been reporting encounters with a traveling salesmen in Jackson and Josephine counties attempting to sell fire safety systems to install in their homes, according to Chris Wolfard, Operations Chief with the Applegate Valley Fire District (AVFD).

Wolfard posted on the Fire District's Facebook page on Wednesday, warning that he believed the fire systems could be scam.

One Applegate Valley resident reported that the salesman quoted them $2,595 for a "high-tech" fire safety system in their home, according to Wolfard. AVFD is of the opinion that the fire system in question is far from top-of-the-line, however.

"What I believe it actually is, is a wind-up mechanical alarm with a fusible link. This is 1950s era technology that was fazed out in the 1970s. If there is a fire hot enough to melt a fusible link...it's too late to get out of your house," said Wolfard in his post.

AVFD says that these old fusible link alarms do not meet current Fire Code. Instead, they recommend that everyone have dual sensor (Ionization & Photelectric) smoke alarms with a "hush" feature. Non-hardwired alarms should have a "long life Lithium 10-year" battery, and hardwired alarms should have a battery backup.

Smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and batteries replaced whenever clocks are changed, according to AVFD. Alarms should be replaced entirely every 10 years. There should be at least one alarm per floor in a house, one alarm inside each bedroom, and one just outside each bedroom near the peak of the ceiling. For most houses, this means 3 or 4 alarms.

Admittedly, Wolfard says, these alarms cost about $40 each. However, if you cannot afford a smoke alarm—contact your local fire department or the American Red Cross, they will ensure that you receive one.

According to Wolfard, the only fire system worth $2,000 or more would be a sprinkler system—if you have the money to spend, he says, consider installing one of those.

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