Local firefighters, Red Cross eager to see smoke alarms save lives

Oskaloosa Independent – September 22, 2016
Submitted by Newz Group – September 27, 2016

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Well aware of the ever-present danger fire poses to both life and property, volunteer firefighters with Jefferson County Fire District 8 and the American Red Cross want to make sure houses and apartments in Oskaloosa Township are adequately equipped with working smoke alarms heading into what amounts to “fire season.”

With that in mind, Disaster Program Specialist Ariane Burson and Disaster Services volunteer Jim Smallback with the Capital Area chapter of the American Red Cross traveled from Topeka to Oskaloosa last Thursday morning to provide the township fire department with informational fliers that are to be distributed door to door beginning in early October to let area residents know that free smoke alarms made possible by a grant from the federal government are available and will be installed at no charge by firefighters.

Burson and Smallback were met by Todd Melling and his son, Colt, members of the fire department, and Melling gave the two a quick tour of the training facility located just to the west of the JCFD 8 Fire Station. There they saw what was left of a couch that was purposely set on fire five days earlier during the course of a multidistrict training exercise.

One of three fliers the Mellings and other firefighters will be handing out covers the development of a Home Fire Escape Plan. According to both Melling and Burson, should a fire break out in a house or apartments, the occupants of it may have as little as two minutes to escape.

Melling told the paper that the goal set by the fire department is to install at least 100 new smoke alarms by the end of the year. Smallback said that if a smoke alarm is five years old or older, it should be replaced.

According to Burson, nationwide, 125,000 new smoke alarms were installed last year and smoke alarms were responsible for saving a total of 26 lives. By 2020, she related, the Red Cross hopes to have reduced fire-related deaths and injuries by 25 percent through the installation of more smoke alarms in more dwellings where they are needed most. Statistics reveal that 60 percent of fire-related deaths in homes occur in homes that lack a working smoke alarm.

The ARC now recommends that a smoke alarm be installed in every bedroom within a house or apartment.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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