News & Events
Operation Safe Partners
In what is being hailed as a win-win situation for the cities most vulnerable residents, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services has joined forces with the Philadelphia Fire Department to implement an impressive new fire safety initiative. Operation Safe Partners will be unveiled Monday, December 3rd at Engine 57, located at 56th and Chestnut Streets. Operation Safe Partners is a proactive approach to assuring safe environments for children and families in DHS care.

Acting DHS Commissioner, Dr. Arthur Evans says “the goal is very simple, we want to save lives.”  Together, Evans and Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers are raising the bar for fire safety in Philadelphia.  Between January and September of this year, there have been 44 fire fatalities in the city; many of them could have been avoided with a working smoke alarm. After learning that many of these fires affected children in DHS care, Evans sought the Fire Department’s help and cooperation in developing an immediate response.


Operation Safe Partners accomplishes several shared goals. DHS Contract Agencies which perform in home services to families will have social workers evaluate homes more closely for fire hazards. DHS purchased a limited number of smoke alarms for distribution. Social workers will identify homes in need of smoke alarms and will notify the Fire Department which in turn has committed local fire companies to install the smoke alarms. This provides an effective means for identifying families with improper fire protection and providing them with updated fire protection equipment. In an earlier initiative 339 new smoke alarms where installed in over 315 homes. “It was a good start, but we know we can reach more needy families if more people knew about the program” says Evans.

As part of the service offered to families, the PFD has provided helpful tips about how to protect one’s home from imminent fire threats. It’s important to have at least one smoke alarm per each floor of a house. DHS has purchased smoke alarms with 10-year lithium batteries but even those should be tested monthly.  Tampering with smoke alarms is a frighteningly common practice. People often remove the batteries of an alarm that they think has been triggered accidentally (burning food, cigarettes, etc.) But, Philadelphia families are now being taught the importance of having adequate fire safety equipment.

Thanks to the cooperation and commitment from both DHS and PFD employees, 2008 will hopefully see a continued decline in fire fatalities.