Fla. Fire Marshal Partners with FLASH to Provide Free Smoke Detectors to At-Risk Homes in Pinellas County

September 25, 2003

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Tom Gallagher has joined the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) to provide 1,500 smoke detectors for low-income families in Pinellas County. The smoke detector giveaway is part of an ongoing, collaborative program to provide smoke detectors to at-risk homes in communities throughout Florida.

Participating communities are identified based on economic need and frequency of home fires.

The Pinellas County Fire Authority will receive 1,000 smoke detectors, and Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue will receive 500 smoke detectors. Recipients in 2002 included the City of Eatonville and Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. This year’s communities include Apalachicola, Belle Glade, Gretna, Pahokee, Pinellas County, Riviera Beach and Tarpon Springs.

“At least half of all fire-related deaths can be prevented by a smoke detector,” Gallagher said. “Our goal is to make sure every Florida home has one of these life-saving devices.”

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes purchases the detectors using corporate grants and donations. The State Fire Marshal’s Office identifies communities in need and coordinates with local fire departments to perform the safety inspections and installations. Last November, a four-year-old Pensacola boy was saved when his mother was alerted to a house fire just 10 days after installation of a detector provided by the program.

“This program has already saved lives, and we are confident that it can again,” said Alliance President Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “We are deeply grateful to First Floridian who join KIDDE, The Home Depot and USAA to make all of this possible.”

“We believe it is essential to support lifesaving programs in the communities where we live and do business,” said First Floridian president/CEO Nancy Baily. “House fire deaths and injuries are highly preventable through the use of these simple devices, and we are proud to help provide them to those in need.”

The number of detectors purchased to date is approximately 10,000, providing safety for more than 7,500 families.

The delivery is also an early kick-off to Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5-11. The remaining detectors will be delivered to the other Florida locations through the end of 2003, and fund-raising is ongoing.

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