Local firefighters start company to fill homeowner’s need

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2017) – Three local firefighters have turned an idea to help local homeowners stay safe into a growing business. 

Smoke Detector Medic, founded by professional firefighters Dave Russell, Scott LaBree and David Lundbohm, is celebrating its first anniversary of keeping homeowners safe by keeping their smoke detectors working properly.

“Working smoke detectors save lives,” said Russell. “In 25 percent of home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound. Half of those had missing or disconnected batteries. It’s unfortunate that we often see unplugged detectors or missing batteries in residential fire situations.”

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, nuisance alarms are the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms and dead batteries cause 25 percent of smoke alarm failures.

The trio came up with the idea for the business as an extension of the services they routinely provide in their careers. As a service, the fire department will change out a homeowner’s battery, but not the detector itself. According to the NFPA, fire detectors should be replaced every 10 years.

After researching the idea, they found there were only two other companies, one also run by a professional firefighter, located in the southern United States.

Smoke Detector Medic serves residential clients in Lee and Collier counties by providing smoke detector replacement, detector battery replacement, detector cleaning and annual maintenance agreements.

“When you see a detector is discolored or yellowing, that’s a clear sign it needs replacing,” said LaBree. “Smoke detectors come with dates on them and should be checked each time the batteries are replaced. The units naturally lose three to five percent of their effectiveness annually.”

Many of the company’s clients are homeowners with difficult to reach smoke alarms due to high ceilings and elderly clients who don’t want the risk of climbing ladders. 

“As professional fire fighters, we climb ladders everyday so heights don’t deter us,” said Lundbohm.

Russell added that most homeowners don’t realize their detectors need regular cleaning. Dust and other elements can cause them to give off a false alarm (or no alarm at all).

“We’ve done a lot of education in the past year while servicing our clients,” he added. “If we can save one life because we helped a client keep their smoke detector working properly and understand the importance of regular maintenance, rather than just removing the batteries or unplugging it because of an annoying beep, we’ve more than done our job.”

The company is licensed and insured and is available to homeowner associations and other groups for presentations on fire safety.

For more information, visit detectormedic.com or call 877-866-7665.

Scott LaBree

David Lundbohm

Dave Russell