By Jack Gurner
COFFEEVILLE – Yalobusha County families can receive a smoke alarm and free installation thanks to the county’s volunteer fire departments.
Some 58,000 smoke alarms are being distributed statewide under the State Fire Marshall’s Fire Free Smoke Alarm Installation Program. Installation is being provided at no charge by local volunteer firefighters, according to County Fire Coordinator Frank Hyde.
Mississippi is one of the top states in the nation for fire-related deaths. Smoke alarms in good working condition can save lives and property.
“If this program saves just one life, it is worth it,” said Hyde. “We are targeting homes without any alarms.”
Commission of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said of the 29 fire deaths his office has investigated this year a working smoke alarm was found in only one fire. Not working smoke alarms were found in three other fires.
Hyde said those who qualify for the program include: low-income families; families with infants and children up to 14 years of age; elderly residents aged 65 and over; and families with disabled members.
Participants must be homeowners and be willing to fill out a short survey. To be put on the work list, call the Yalobusha Emergency Management Agency office in Coffeeville at (662) 675-2556 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
During the installation visit firefighters will also provide fire prevention education and help plan fire escape routes.