Smoke Detector Grant

Some of Lowndes County's bravest, the fire fighters, will be installing the smoke detectors for free. The program could save lives while helping increase prevention education.

Fire prevention experts say there are too many homes in Lowndes County that are without the proper amount of working smoke detectors. That's why the county has teamed with the federal government to provide these free detectors.

"Most homes in our area have one smoke detector, and they should really have more than one and that's what we're working on here, the main thing is the people will have to call us at fire headquarters," says Chief Jim Fielding of the Lowndes County Fire Department.

Chief Fielding says getting one of the free smoke detectors for your home or apartment is one of the easiest steps you can take to help protect it from becoming like this one, burnt to the ground.

"We would rather go out, put smoke detectors out save lives and property and that's what we're trying to do with this grant," says Fielding.

In addition to protecting lives, the Lowndes Fire Department will actually gain additional funding for fire prevention materials.

"Tell them what they should and shouldn't store, what they should do about electrical problems, stuff like that. We're using it to get out to really push our fire prevention message forward."

A message that could help the people of Lowndes County from getting burned.

If you would like to sign up for a free smoke detector, call the Lowndes Fire Rescue Department at 229-671-2730. Instillation of the detectors will begin next month.

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Smoke Detector Safety

    • Almost half of all home fires and three-fifths of fire deaths occur in homes with no detectors.

    • Your chances of dying in a home fire are cut in half if you have a working smoke detector.

    • There are more homes with smoke detectors that don't work, than homes without any detectors at all. These poorly maintained units create a false sense of security.

    • Two-thirds of fires involving a fatality happen in residential buildings between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. when the occupants are more likely to be asleep.

    • The most dangerous period is 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

    Mounting Tips

    • Wall-mounted detectors should be installed so the top is 6 to 12 inches from the ceiling.

    • Ceiling-mounted detectors should be installed at least 6 inches from any wall.

    • If a room has a pitched ceiling, mount the detector at or near the ceiling's highest point.

    • In stairways with no doors at the top or bottom, position detectors in the path smoke would follow up the stairwell.

    • Mount detectors at the bottom of closed stairways, such as those leading to a basement or mechanical room. Dead air trapped near the door at the top of a stairway could prevent smoke from reaching a detector located at the top.

    • Don't install a detector too close to windows, doors or forced air registers, where drafts could interfere with the detector's operation.

    Maintenance

    • Batteries weaken with age and must be regularly checked and replaced, generally every 9 to 12 months.

    • Test your smoke detectors at least once a month, following the manufacturer's instructions. Both battery-operated and electric smoke detectors become less effective with age. If your detector does not respond to the recommended test procedure (usually by pressing a test button), change its batteries. If it still does not perform, replace it.

    • Clean your smoke detectors following the manufacturer's instructions. Cobwebs and dust can generally be removed using a vacuum cleaner attachment. Never paint any part of a smoke detector.

    Source: www.nfpa.org (National Fire Protection Agency Web site) contributed to this report.


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