Federal Grant to Aid Attack on Fire Deaths in Mississippi

August 22, 2008

Mississippi’s rank as the leader in fire deaths in the nation could take a major blow soon and state fire officials couldn’t be happier.

Their latest tool in the fight for fire death prevention is a nearly half-million dollar federal grant awarded to the Mississippi State Fire
Marshal’s Office. The grant will be used for a statewide smoke alarm installation program and will provide free smoke alarms to nearly 10,000 households that are at or below the poverty level.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants Fire Prevention and Safety Program awarded the $497,025 grant. County fire coordinators will coordinate installation efforts with the fire departments in their respective counties. Smoke alarms will then be delivered and installed by firefighters.

During the visit firefighters will provide fire prevention and home escape planning education and leave educational brochures for the residents to review after the firefighters have left.

A special sealed smoke alarm with a 10-year battery will be used for the program. Because the alarm is sealed, it removes the ability to unplug the battery.

According to statistics compiled by the State Fire Marshal’s office for the grant application, as of November 28, 2007, there had been 69 fire deaths in 51 fires reported. Of those reported, smoke alarms were present in 18 fires resulting in 23 deaths; smoke alarms were not present in 28 fires resulting in 40 deaths; in five fires resulting in six deaths, it was unknown if smoke alarms were present.

Source: Mississippi Insurance Department

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