ROSEVILLE (AP) -- A caravan pulls up outside your house. A uniformed crew steps out and approaches.
No, you haven't won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. You're also not about to be handcuffed and taken away.
Instead, you've just won some functioning smoke detectors and at least one free pizza. Not bad when all you did was place an order with the Domino's at Har Mar Mall in Roseville.
The smoke detectors and the pizzas come courtesy of the Roseville Fire Department and Domino's, which have partnered in a new effort to promote fire prevention in town.
"The whole spirit is to make sure they're safe," said Doug Johnson, Roseville fire inspector. "It's kind of a win-win situation for everybody."
Participation by homeowners is voluntary. The way it works is on any random night once a week, Roseville firefighters accompany Domino's delivery drivers on their runs. If the customer lets the firefighters inspect the home's smoke detectors, the customer's order is free.
In addition, the fire department for free will replace nonfunctioning smoke detectors or dead batteries or install them in homes without detectors.
"Terrific," laughed Nancy Irsfeld who had just returned from an Alaskan cruise when the firefighters told her she had won two free pizzas and had two perfect smoke detectors. "This is cool. I'm kind of shell-shocked."
Roseville Fire Chief Rich Gasaway said he decided to launch the program in the city after attending an International Association of Fire Chiefs' conference where another department received an innovation award for the idea.
"I was so impressed with the concept of being able to reward people for practicing fire prevention," Gasaway said.
Domino's quickly got on board with the program, the chief said.
"It just seemed like a good idea," said Bob Kruse, store manager. "It's positive for us. It's been a real good promotional thing."
Driver Tim Maylone said he enjoys watching customers' reaction to the frenzy of people and vehicles, including a fire engine, that descend on them.
"It's kind of funny," Maylone said. "The funniest part is you watch all of the neighbors asking, 'What's going on?"'
That was 16-year-old Chris Steppa's initial reaction when he answered the door, expecting a lone pizza delivery man.
"I'm just hungry," said Steppa, who praised the program as firefighters inspected his family's smoke detectors. "It's just odd."
The firefighters installed one new detector and a new battery in another and mounted a third detector in his basement.
"Ya know, the kitchen is always the one with the battery out," firefighter Jeff Rhein quipped.
The program is possible through minimal costs, Gasaway said. Domino's donates the free pizzas, which are only a few a week, and Target sold the fire department the smoke detectors at a discounted rate. Batteries Plus donated the batteries. The pizza driver's tips are on the fire chief.
Firefighters said the benefits of saving lives through the program far outweigh any monetary cost.
"It's fun to have a fire department story that has a happy ending as opposed to someone's disaster," Gasaway said.
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