Apartment Manager Program

Smoke Alarms

In the majority of fires, the situation was made worse because there were no working smoke alarms. Additionally, 11 of the 16 fatalities in the TVF&R area died in a fire that did not start in their residence. Multifamily housing is an environment in which a tenant can do everything right, and still be at the mercy of their neighbor's unsafe behavior.

To develop strategies to increase awareness of the importance of working smoke alarms, TVF&R secured an $85,000 federal grant. The grant provided funding to conduct:

  • Demographic study and focus groups
  • Awareness campaign
  • Apartment program


TVF&R thanks our partners on this project:

For more information, contact Joanne Hatch at 503-259-1506 or by email.

Demographic Study

In the first phase of the grant project, TVF&R hired Campbell DeLong Resources (CDR), Inc. of Portland, Oregon. Using census data, CDR completed a Demographic Study of TVF&R's service area. The research highlighted the fact that the service area was 8% Hispanic / Latino at the time of the study. This would later influence the public education messages.

In addition, CDR conducted several focus groups, interviews with English and Spanish-speaking tenants, to determine why tenants are apt to disable their smoke alarms. Focus groups were conducted at the Tartan West and Bonita Villa Apartments, two complexes that had experienced fatal fires. A focus group was also held at the Welcoming Center, a Beaverton School District resource for new Spanish-speaking residents.

Key Issues Emerged

  • Landlords and property managers have a pivotal role in emphasizing fire safety in the communities they manage and own.
  • Tenants lack an understanding of why you need a smoke alarm

This information laid the foundation for the second and third phase of the grant project; an awareness campaign and apartment pilot program.

Awareness Campaign

The second phase of the grant project included an awareness campaign utilizing mass media. The district hired Lloyd Maris Advertising who, using the Campbell DeLong research, developed bilingual and pictorial key messages. The awareness campaign included transit advertising, radio, and television public service announcements.

Lloyd Maris also designed and developed materials for the apartment complexes.

Campaign Components

The district also hired Campbell Delong Resources, Inc. to evaluate the effectiveness of the awareness campaign. A phone survey of the tenants in the Apartment Pilot Program was conducted in January 2004.

Landlord Grant Project

The third phase of the project included identifying 10 high-risk apartment complexes. The landlords of these complexes were provided resources to assist in educating their tenants about the importance of smoke alarms. These resources included posters for laundry facilities and common areas, smoke alarm pictorial sheets and tabletop display for new tenant orientation, and refrigerator magnets. Additionally, Lloyd Maris developed three direct mail pieces which were mailed to the tenants in these complexes.

Landlord Resources

Direct Mail Piece

Current Status

Currently, TVF&R has 600 apartment complexes involved in the program and more than 900 people have attended the training.