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Rockford Fire Department MEDIA ALERT
On Sunday, March 19, 2023 The Rockford Fire Department
responded to a house fire that sadly resulted in the death of an elderly woman.
During these tragic moments it is important to remind everyone and
reemphasize the importance of having working smoke detectors throughout your home. Early
notification gives people the best chance of survival during a house fire and is essential to making
certain that our homes are safe for our family and friends.
On average, families have less than three minutes from the time the first smoke detector alarm sounds to escape a fire. The presence of working smoke detectors reduces the risk of dying in a house fire in half. It is recommended that working UL
listed smoke alarms are installed on every floor of the home, in hallways, in living areas, inside
bedrooms and outside of sleeping areas.
Roughly 65 percent of home fire deaths are caused by fires in just three rooms: living rooms, bedrooms,
and kitchens. Additionally, half (52%) of all home fire deaths occur between 7 PM and 11 AM, when
most people are asleep (NFPA). Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and injuries in the United
States and is the second leading cause of home fire deaths next to smoking.
Smoke alarms do not last forever. They should be tested monthly and replaced every 10 years. Alarm
batteries should be replaced at least twice a year or when the alarm signals (“chirps”) the end of the
battery life. Follow manufacturer’s instructions if you have a 10-year smoke alarm which uses a long-life
The new State of Illinois law enacted on January 1st, 2023 requires any new smoke alarm being installed
within a single of multi-family home to be featured with a 10-year sealed battery. This helps to avoid
the concern of dead or missing batteries in detectors, which accounts for half of smoke alarm
failures. The Rockford Fire Department can provide and install these 10 year lithium battery smoke
detectors free of charge to those in need depending availability.
The Rockford Fire Department will be conducting voluntary home safety surveys in conjunction with the
Red Cross on Sunday, April 1, 2023 in the neighborhood stricken by this recent tragedy. Smoke
detectors will be available and installed in homes that need them.
Smoke alarms are essential, but it is important to have an escape plan and know what to do in the event
of a fire. The Rockford Fire Department wants people to know that the number one priority in a fire is
to immediately exit the building as safe as possible. Upon discovering a fire, first leave the building and
then call 9-1-1 to report the fire. Make sure that everyone in the house knows two ways out, and the
location of a safe meeting place in the event of an emergency.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, “People who were fatally injured in home fires
with working smoke alarms were more likely to have been in the area of origin and involved in the
ignition, to have a disability, to be at least 65 years old, to have acted irrationally, or to have tried to
fight the fire themselves.” Our department wants to keep our community safe and avoid further fire
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Officials have not yet released any information:
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- If there is a possible threat to the community (Community in danger?),
- Who to possibly be on the lookout for, (Who to be on the lookout for?),
- If they do release information, we will update this.
If there are no updates, officials have not released any information that we are aware of.
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