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Lowe's teams up with city fire officials to push safety

April 25, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

Hagerstown fire officials will be making house calls this weekend to about 260 homes to check smoke detectors and provide general home safety tips.

The visits - which will occur from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday - are part of the Lowe's Heroes contest sponsored by Lowe's Home Centers Inc. The Hagerstown Fire Department has a chance to win a $20,000 grand prize.

"In injury prevention, that's unheard of," said Mike Weller, a fire official who is coordinating the effort. "That is a very substantial offer on behalf of Lowe's."

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During the two days, teams of fire officials and volunteers from Lowe's will march through several blocks of North Mulberry, North Locust and John streets and Randolph and North avenues. They will check smoke detectors and replace faulty equipment.

Weller said the groups also will check hallway lighting, give away plastic outlet plugs to protect young children and provide tips to improve general home safety.

He said studies have estimated that preventable home accidents in America cost more than $95 billion a year.

In addition, fire officials will ask residents several questions about their neighborhood and city services. It is a prelude to a comprehensive survey of the city this summer. The study is conducted every five years.

Weller said this weekend's program would not be possible without donations from Lowe's.

"We don't have the budget for the level of service we are going to provide," he said.

The Hagerstown Lowe's store, which selected the fire department as its partner agency, will compete against about 90 other stores in its region. The winner of each region will win a $2,500 prize. Several $2,000 honorable mentions will also be named by the chain's corporate officials.

The winners of each region will square off for the $20,000 grand prize.

Tom Wynkoop, a manager at the Hagerstown Lowe's store, said he selected the fire department because of past fire safety presentations officials have made at the store.

"We've just had a real good rapport with the fire department," he said.

Weller he picked an area of the city that had showed problems the last time the city conducted a comprehensive survey of fire safety. He said he also wanted to concentrate on an area that had a large elderly population.

"This is an area where it's been a couple of years since we've done something," Weller said.

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