Out of all the structure fires responded to by the Mid County Fire Protection District in the last three years, 38 percent of the homes have working smoke detectors. Mid County now is working to increase that number.
"The goal of this new initiative is to substantially improve the number of operational smoke detectors in homes and track the total number of residents impacted," Mid County officials said in a press release. "This program is intended to target residents with children, the elderly and low-income families that do not have operational smoke detectors. It is recommended that smoke detectors be installed in every bedroom, hallways outside bedrooms and one detector per story of the residence."
A new Fire Prevention and Safety grant awarded to Mid County from the Department of Homeland Security will enable the district to improve their existing smoke detector program. For the past nine years, Mid County has been installing smoke detectors when requested from residents at no charge. Current code requirements ensure the adequate number of smoke detectors are installed in the required locations per national standards on all remodels and new construction homes.
According to officials, budget restraints and decreasing donations have limited our ability to expand the program.
"On a busy year we install over a hundred smoke detectors in homes throughout our district," Fire Marshal Chris Bachman said. "In order to fast track the program to effectively reduce the target hazard, we needed a new marketing campaign and enough smoke detectors to support the additional requests."
This program revitalization is now a reality with the award of $30,000 to purchase dual sensor smoke detectors with ten-year lithium batteries and provide educational brochures to distribute to the residents.
Mid-County is required to match five percent of the grant award, the matching funds of $1,500 was approved by the Board of Directors at the May board meeting. The grant awarded has a one year timeframe to implement the new program and install 1,100 smoke detectors throughout the 220 square mile district.
The program is anticipated to be in effect by June or July.