The Fire Marhal in Loudoun County, Virginia has seen a need for smoke alarm installation and maintenance in the County. While the annual death rate of people from fires has fallen dramatically over the past 25 years, the percentage who died at home has remained high at approximately 75 - 80%. The useage of smoke alarms increased during this time, but human indifference is thought to be a factor. Smoke alarms tend to wear out after a decade and don't always get replaced, or owners neglect to install new batteries. To address these issues, Loudoun County Fire-Rescue has adopted a program called "Get Alarmed."
It is modelled after a program started in Austin, Texas, and offers a safety check and free smoke alarm installed at no cost. In a pilot evaluation last year, County Firefighters went door to door and checked 150 smoke alarms in Purcellville, Virginia, and found that 90% required some intervention. This program has been worthwhile with 2 documented saves, where an installed smoke detector helped save lives during a fire.