The BCFPD’s latest public safety & education initiative provides complimentary smoke detectors to residents through a partnership with the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance.

The primary goals of the state-wide “Be Alarmed” smoke detector installment program are to:

  • Educate residents on home fire safety and prevention methods.
  • Reduce the number of fire-related injuries and deaths in Illinois.
  • Identify reasons why residents may have non-working smoke detectors in their homes.

Through the program, BCFPD firefighters will install 10-year concealed battery smoke detectors in residents’ homes at no charge and provide fire safety education materials. 

To participate in the program, residents may contact BCFPD Captain Angela Grandgeorge at 224-848-4875 or

“The newer 10-year concealed battery units offer a tremendous advantage over the older model smoke detectors they are intended to replace: Their power source is designed to last for the life of the device,” Captain Grandgeorge explained.  “These units are also engineered to be more effective in detecting smoke, which offers an enhanced level of protection for family members of all ages.”

Numbers Don’t Lie: Smoke Detectors Save Lives

The statistics are clear when it comes to the life-saving capabilities of smoke detectors.  According to data compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly 70% of home fire deaths occur in residences without working smoke alarms.

For maximum effectiveness, devices should be installed in every bedroom of the house and outside sleeping areas on each level of your home (including basements).

Units should be placed on ceilings or high on walls.  Keep them at least 10 feet away from the kitchen stove to reduce false alarms.  Use interconnected smoke alarms, if available – when one sounds, they will all sound.

State Law Mandates New Alarms

Besides the obvious public safety benefits, recent changes to state law now mandate a gradual transition to the type of detectors offered through the “Be Alarmed” program. 

A 2018 update to the state’s smoke detector law requires homeowners to replace older, battery-powered smoke alarms with the new 10-year devices by the end of 2022.  Dwellings with hardwired smoke detectors are exempt. 

Despite the lead time, BCFPD leaders hope residents within the Fire District’s jurisdiction won’t wait that long.

“To ensure the highest levels of safety, we recommend that residents immediately begin replacing their older smoke alarms with the new sealed battery units,” BCFPD Fire Chief James Kreher said.

For more information on the “Be Alarmed” program, visit  Additional fire safety information is available on the BCFPD’s Facebook page, or by calling 224-848-4800.

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