Anaheim Fire & Rescue installs life-saving smoke alarms in mobile home community

By Bradley Zint

Residents of an Anaheim mobile home park received some potentially life-saving aid on Saturday, April 28, thanks to members of Anaheim Fire & Rescue and a few dozen volunteers.

About 30 men, women, and children with I Love Anaheim and some Anaheim Fire & Rescue personnel canvassed the Friendly Village community off East La Palma Avenue, in the Anaheim Hills neighborhood, to install free smoke alarms in the homes and provide fire safety information.

Volunteers from I Love Anaheim gather for an orientation on installing smoke detectors in people’s homes.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

About two years ago, Anaheim Fire & Rescue received some 12,000 alarms through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant. Ever since, the department has been installing them in the city’s residential neighborhoods — namely,  in single-family homes and mobile home parks like Friendly Village.

The department visited the community about two years back, and returned Saturday to install detectors inside units they missed the last time.

“This is a hook to get in and talk about fire safety,” said Fire Marshal Allen Hogue, adding that 80 percent of the fires the department responds to are within residences. Hogue led a team that included Lindsay Young, an assistant fire marshal, and Fire Inspector Adrian Abel.

Volunteers from I Love Anaheim gather around Fire Marshal Allen Hogue of Anaheim Fire & Rescue as he gives instructions on installing smoke detectors in homes.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“To me, this is what it’s all about,” said Hogue, a 23-year department veteran. “This is why we get in the fire service, to get out and help the community.”

Abel, who’s been with Anaheim Fire & Rescue for seven years, said having working smoke alarms in a mobile home is particularly important because the structures can quickly become engulfed, often within a matter of minutes. Mobile homes are generally made of thin material.

“In a mobile home fire, seconds really do count,” Hogue said. Having a working smoke detector, he added, can “literally mean the difference between life and death.”

Anaheim Fire & Rescue teamed with I Love Anaheim to inspect and offer free smoke alarm installations at Friendly Village Mobile Home Park in Anaheim.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The morning began with Hogue and other department personnel demonstrating how to install the smoke alarms, which have a 10-year battery life. The volunteers and fire personnel walked around Friendly Village with the alarms, power tools, and documentation tucked inside colorful wagons. They visited 39 homes and installed 74 smoke alarms.

Many of the I Love Anaheim volunteers were employees of the Anaheim branch of Bay Alarm, a home security company.

“We’re a family-owned business,” said Alexandria Gomez, office manager for Bay Alarm. “We really like to keep that culture, and this is one of the programs we love to volunteer for. It’s great to give back to the community. That’s what our company strives on.”

Anaheim Fire & Rescue Inspector Adrian Abel goes over the best places to install a smoke alarm with homeowners Sara Benton and her brother, Kellen Benton, during an inspection at Friendly Village Mobile Home Park in Anaheim.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

A brother and sister live in one of the mobile homes Abel and a few I Love Anaheim volunteers visited. The aid that morning proved to be essential: the home didn’t have any working alarms. The group installed one in each of the unit’s three bedrooms and a fourth in the living room. Abel gave them fire-prevention advice for their kitchen.

He noted that Anaheim Fire & Rescue routinely provides advice, but isn’t often able to go into homes to do up-close inspections like Saturday’s event.

When they can, “Then you’re really fixing things up,” Abel said. “For every house that we do, that’s one less house that could have a fire.”

Anaheim Fire & Rescue Inspector Adrian Abel installs a smoke alarm in a home at Friendly Village Mobile Home Park in Anaheim.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Nick Moss, a volunteer with I Love Anaheim, helps install a ceiling smoke detector under the guidance of an Anaheim Fire & Rescue inspector.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC