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West Lafayette off-campus rental housing getting smoke detector update

The city is working on making off-campus living much safer.

Posted: Aug 16, 2019 6:31 PM
Updated: Aug 17, 2019 7:40 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — As Purdue University students head back to campus, the city is working on making off-campus living much safer. The West Lafayette Fire Department has been working to install more smoke detectors in rental units.

"It's exciting, it's so new," said Purdue student Anika Bhargava. "I didn't realize how many things you need to live."

Bhargava is one student starting to settle into her new place for the school year. One thing she, like many other students, can look forward to is living under West Lafayette's new fire code.

“We upgraded to the national building code and that requires a smoke detector in every sleeping area and outside of every sleeping area and still one on every floor,” said West Lafayette Fire Chief Tim Heath.

Chief Heath said the previous law only required one smoke detector per floor. Since the issued ordinance on January 1, 2019, the department has been bringing rental units up to code, making its way through various neighborhoods.

“We've worked very hard to make sure that we improved our standard,” said Heath. “A lot of people over the years have gone above and beyond and done what the national standard is and so I think this really affects a very small portion of our community.”

Community members like Josie Upton say they're happy with the city's push for fire safety.

“My parents I know they were pretty nervous about me living off-campus and cooking for myself and I'm guessing cooking for myself probably comes with fire safety so I think they'd be pretty happy to know it's just one less thing to worry about,” said Upton.

Parents agree.

“I'm thankful that our fire department is taking care of student accommodation not only on campus but off-campus and that's a really important feature for the apartment,” said Anika’s mother, Nidhi Bhargava.

The push for fire safety doesn't stop after the smoke detector installation. The West Lafayette Fire Department will be holding a blitz this fall to continue promoting fire safety.

The West Lafayette Fire Department and First Alert are offering tips to keep you and your family safe:

Home Safety Tips

- Practice a fire escape plan. According to a recent study conducted by First Alert, only 43 percent of Americans report having a home escape plan in place. However, only a quarter (26 percent) have ever practiced it. After planning an emergency escape route, practice it at least twice a year.

- Test alarms to ensure they are in proper working condition. All alarms – regardless of the power source – should be tested monthly.

- Equip your home with the recommended number of smoke and CO alarms. The National Fire Protection Association suggests having at least one CO alarm on each level, including the basement, and one in or near every bedroom. For smoke alarms, homes should have one installed on every level of the home and inside each bedroom.

- Alarms don’t last forever, replace. If you don’t know how old an alarm is, the safest bet is to replace it immediately, as all alarms expire beyond 10 years. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, while most CO alarms should be replaced every five to seven years (some new CO alarms are tested to last 10 years).

- Maintenance is key. Dust off alarms periodically to maintain a clear pathway for detection.

For more information on West Lafayette fire code regulations, visit the City of West Lafayette website, at https://www.westlafayette.in.gov/. For additional information on fire and carbon monoxide safety, visit www.firstalert.com.

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