There’s no excuse for not having a smoke alarm in Norwood. Anyone who doesn’t have a smoke alarm in their home can get a free one from the Norwood Fire Department on Oct. 5. 

Norwood’s EMS Chief, John Bockrath, wrote a National Safety Grant in June. Because of the $800 in funding he then received, he was able to purchase 100 smoke alarms to give away to folks in Norwood. 

Home Depot also gave Norwood Fire Department a 50 percent discount on the cost of the alarms to support the giveaway. 

Now, Bockrath hopes the community will show up, take a smoke alarm and make sure their home is properly alarmed in the way of fire prevention and detection. 

“We will be giving away the smoke alarms to anyone that doesn't have one or needs a new working alarm,” he said. “Our firefighters will also install the smoke alarms for people that are unable to do it themselves.”

Bockrath said having smoke alarms is crucial in fire prevention. According to him, only 60 percent of households in the U.S. have working smoke alarms. 

“They are proven to be an effective early warning device and they do save lives,” he said. 

The smoke alarm giveaway happens from 9 a.m. to noon next Saturday at the Norwood Fire Station. He said there is no qualification process or discussion of income. The smoke alarms are available to all families. 

“This will be on a first come, first serve basis,” he said.

He said the department will begin by giving out one per household. 

However, if people request an additional smoke alarm, fire department volunteers will take names and numbers and later contact those interested in additional alarms if any are left over after the event ends. 

Bockrath said Oct. 5 also kicks off Fire Prevention Week, a national event celebrated by fire departments throughout the country, and the Norwood Fire Department wants to participate, too. 

Along with the smoke alarm giveaway, the Norwood crew will have fire engine rides and tours for the public that day. They’ll also have popcorn available, too.

Bockrath also likes making education a priority in his role as EMS Chief, and has additional plans for Norwood Elementary School kids. 

“I will hopefully be starting a Learn Not to Burn program with the second graders that week,” he said. “It is a program through NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) geared specifically for second and third graders to teach them about fire safety.”

He said the Learn Not to Burn program has a 30-minuite lesson plan per month that he will bring to the classroom. In the spring, at the end of the lessons, Norwood Fire Department will then have a party with the kids and serve cake and ice cream. 

“And, we'll bring a fire engine to school and let them squirt water,” Bockrath added. 

Anyone with questions about the smoke alarm program should email Bockrath at norwoodchief@gmail.com.