Smoke detectors available for high-risk properties

January 25, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The City of Hagerstown has been awarded a $25,000 grant to buy smoke detectors for homes that qualify as high-risk properties, according to Mike Weller, the city's fire prevention officer.

High-risk properties are households that have children who are younger than 5 or adults ages 65 and older, he said. Low-income households and families where English is spoken as a second language also qualify, he said.

Weller said firefighters will identify the priority areas by April and visit homes in May to offer the free smoke detectors. The devices are equipped with lithium batteries that last 10 years, he said.

The smoke detectors may be shut off for 15 minutes without taking out the battery, so the alarm doesn't sound when people are cooking, he said.


Weller said households that qualify will get one alarm for each "living level" in the home.

"That's usually two per house," he said.

Weller said the fire department has given out smoke detectors to roughly 7,500 homes since the smoke detector distribution program began in 1983.

The grant requires no matching funds from the city, and funding may be extended up to five years based upon the community's need, he said.

Lori A. Demeter, director of the Center for Preventative Health Services, said the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene received a federal grant last year that is designed to decrease fire-related injuries and deaths in high-risk properties.

Earlier this month, grants were awarded to Hagerstown, and Cecil and Dorchester counties, she said. Each grant was worth about $25,000.

More grants will be awarded in the fall of 2007, she said.

For more information

Call 301-739-8577, ext. 415, to find out if you qualify to receive a smoke detector.

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