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LCFD offering free installation of fire alarms

That Lafayette County Fire Department is working to make sure that every home has a fire alarm thanks to a new program.

The LCFD, in partnership with First Alert, Campus Firewatch and the Michael H. Minger Foundation, will install 100 fire alarms around Lafayette County beginning on Saturday.

“We will probably (install) about 20 (fire alarms) on Saturday and then we will keep doing it until we run out,” Douglass Sullivan-González, Dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College said.

The Honors College will work in conjunction with LCFD to install the alarms as part of the Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project, Sullivan- González said.

The project is one of several programs that the LCFD has utilized in recent years to install fire alarms for members of the community and, on Sept. 28, one of those alarms saved a life.

Lafayette County Fire Department training officer Raleigh Sprouse said that the department responded to a fire at 823 Highway 7 North where the resident said that she recognized him as he took a report about the fire.

During the conversation, the resident told Sprouse that he and some other firefighters had installed her smoke detectors several years before.

“I asked her ‘well, how did you hear the fire?’ and she said ‘I was laying in bed with the door shut and I heard the smoke alarm go off, and I opened the door and the living room was on fire and I ran out the front door’ … And I thought ‘man, that’s a win for us,’” Sprouse said. “This is just one of those perfect occasions where something we did two years ago paid off. We were able to save some of the belongings in the home and were able to put out the fire really quick, but more importantly, she was able to get out of the house.”

The National Fire Protection Associated reports that on average a fire occurs in the United States every 24 seconds. In 2016, fire departments responded to 1.3 million fires nationwide the NFPA said. Other data released by the NFPA indicates that three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms or alarms that do not work.

In fires where a smoke alarm was present but did not operate, half the alarms had missing or disconnected batteries, the NFPA said.

“Teaching simple steps about fire safety paired with community outreach can not only help prevent tragedies but also improve the well-being of the community as a whole,” Gail Minger, president of the Michael H. Minger Foundation said in a news release. “We are thrilled to offer students this unique volunteer opportunity through the Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project.”

Sullivan- González said that the only criteria for individuals to receive an alarm is exhibiting a need for one.

“People have already proactively called in to the fire department because they know we’ve had programs like this before, but we will randomly look around and knock on doors and see if people are willing for us to come in and install the smoke alarms,” Sullivan- González said.

For those interested in signing up for the program, call the Lafayette County Central Fire Station at 662-232-2881 or email Sullivan- González at dsg@olemiss.edu.