Northeast Mississippians are receiving free state-of-the-art smoke detectors through a $500,000 federal Homeland Security grant awarded to the state Fire Marshal’s Office.
The grant buys 15,000 smoke detectors that will be distributed around Mississippi through May.
“Smoke detectors save lives, and every home in this state should have a smoke detector for the protection of the families who live there,” said Mississippi Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney.
By mid-March the State Fire Marshal’s Office had investigated 19 fire deaths, more than for the same time period in 2008.
Not all counties elect to participate in the program, said program administrator Tammy Peavy.
Each fire department in a county was to be allocated at least 150 smoke detectors to install in the homes of the elderly, low-income and disabled; homes with young children;and homes without a functioning smoke detector.
Some departments have handed out their first 150 detectors and have received 99 more to distribute, Peavy said.
Alcorn County did not receive its full allotment of 150 detectors per department, but a total of 750 for the county, which gave each department 81, said Alcorn County Emergency Management Director Ricky Gibens.
The detectors have a 10-year battery life and are installed free for the homeowner, Gibens said. The department is reimbursed $10 for each detector it installsl.
In addition to installing the smoke detector, the firefighter goes over the family’s fire prevention and escape plan, and leaves educational brochures for residents to keep.
“The only thing I regret is that we don’t have any more smoke detectors to hand out,” Gibens said.
Contact Lena Mitchell at 287-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal