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SFD offers free smoke detectors

October 11, 2010

Starkville Fire Department officials are going to be able to install smoke detectors to city residents who can’t afford them thanks to a grant-funded program through the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
The Fire Marshal’s Office has provided the Fire Department with 150 new smoke detectors to be installed in the homes of lower income families who request them.
Families requesting the smoke detectors will see firefighters come to their homes, evaluate the layout of the home and, taking into consideration the number of people living in the home, will install multiple smoke detectors based upon that evaluation, said SFD Fire Marshal Mark McCurdy on Monday.
Families requesting smoke detectors must live within the Starkville city limits, McCurdy said.
“We’ll install them free of charge,” McCurdy said. “These detectors are installed with a lithium battery with a 10-year life span, which essentially makes them maintenance free. While the families will need to conduct a monthly check on the detectors just to ensure they are operating properly, they won’t have to worry about the battery.”
The State Fire Marshal’s Office smoke detector program has helped the SFD install around 500 detectors locally in the past six months, McCurdy said.
“We will keep going with the detectors as long as they keep coming to us,” McCurdy said. “The more we get out in the community, the greater chance we have of possibly saving lives.”
Residents living outside the city limits can check with the volunteer fire department serving their area to see if they might have detectors available, McCurdy said.
“The volunteer fire departments have access to these detectors just like we do,” he said.
With October being National Fire Prevention Month, McCurdy said he also wanted to remind residents that already have smoke detectors to check them to ensure proper working order.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 4,000 people die and more than 20,000 people are injured in fires across the nation each year. Many of these were in homes without smoke detectors.
Here are a few tips provided by the U.S. Fire Administration regarding smoke detectors:
• Place a smoke detector on every level of a home or apartment and outside bedrooms.
• Check smoke detector batteries monthly by pushing the test button.
• Change the batteries in a smoke detector at least once a year. Good times to do this are when changing clocks to Daylight Savings Time from Standard Time and vice versa.
• Teach children what the smoke detector alarm sounds like and what do when they hear it sound.
• If cooking smoke sets off the detector’s alarm, do not disable it. Turn on the range fan, open a window or wave a towel near the device.
• Do not remove the batteries to put in other appliances.
• Smoke detectors wear out, so those over 10 years old should be replaced.
• Keep smoke detectors clean, since dust and debris can interfere with their operation.
• Consider installing a 10-year lithium battery-powered smoke detector, which is sealed so it cannot be tampered with or opened.
• Hard-wired smoke detectors with battery backups need to be tested monthly and batteries replaced yearly.
Those who cannot afford a smoke detector but are interested in receiving one can call McCurdy or Fire Marshal Stein McMullen at the Fire Department at 323-1845 or 323-2962.
The smoke detectors will be installed on a first-come, first-served basis.

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