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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
According to national statistics, the home fire death rate for people over the age of 65 is almost twice the national average.
The Honolulu Fire Department, with the help of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1186, is aiming to bring that number down on Oahu.
As part of the SAFE program; Smoke Alarms For Everyone, the HFD and IBEW set out to install free smoke alarms in 100 homes of senior citizens on Oahu this week.
The goal is not only to help in fire detection, but offer education to bolster prevention.
"87% of those deaths are attributable to homes that don't have working smoke alarms" said HFD Fire Chief Manuel Neves. "We would like to prevent fires and not have to react to them and have the fire truck come with the hoses and water".
In addition to the smoke alarm installations, IBEW representatives talked about common practices people can do to avoid high risk situations.
"Avoid using too many power strips, power strips are another cause of electrical fires, overloading the circuits" said IBEW Local 1186 President Peter Akamu.
Akamu and Neves, taking the grass roots approach, hoping for greater connectivity with the elderly that they help.
"This is an opportunity to get in, talk story with the folks, have them meet us as well" said Chief Neves.
Since its inception in 2008, the SAFE program has installed over 3500 smoke alarms in over 700 senior citizens' homes on Oahu.