The Barry County Fire Association (BCFA) and Barry County United Way are reminding residents that the free smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector program is still going on throughout the community.
“This program can provide the first alert to getting out of a home when fire is eminent,” said Delton Fire Chief Gene Muskovin.
A grant from Spectrum Health Pennock Foundation, Hastings Kiwanis and Southside Pediatrics make these detectors available free to qualifying households. Applications are available at all local fire departments, or on-line at www.bcunitedway.org or www.hastings.mi.us.
When the application is filled out and returned to Barry County United Way or the local fire department, firefighters will call to set a time to inspect your home for smoke detector placement.
While there, firefighters will install additional smoke detectors as needed and check the batteries on current detectors. The firefighters will leave information with the home owner explaining how to set up a fire escape plan.
“The smoke detector will provide the first alarm, but knowing how to get out and where to go are just as important,” said Freeport Fire Chief Jim Yarger. “We have been surprised by the number of homes with one or less detector,” said Executive Director of the Barry County United Way Lani Forbes.
Since the inception of this program, 1,279 homes have been inspected, 2,695 devices installed. Thirty percent of the homes had no working detector. These are much larger numbers than anticipated when the grants were applied for,” Forbes said.
“It’s great that we received these grants to provide this program. If we can save one life it will be wonderful!” Orangeville Fire Chief Matt Ribble said.
According to the NFPA, the vast majority of fatal fires, 60 percent, occur in homes without smoke alarms. A majority of deaths that occur in homes with smoke alarms are a result of dead or missing batteries.
The BCFA, Bellevue and Lake Odessa fire departments would like to also remind you of a few other fire-related issues: With heating bills soaring this winter there is a concern about using alternative heat sources that are not safe. Make sure that any alternative heat sources that may be used are rated for use indoors and are properly vented.
When turning clocks back on Nov. 4, don’t forget to change the batteries and test smoke detectors. It can save your life.