CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The Chambersburg Borough Council announced Monday it has received a federal grant for what the borough manager describes as “one of the most important programs developed by the Chambersburg Fire Department.”
Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., D-Pa., and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., assisted the borough in obtaining $65,430 from a Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, Fire Prevention and Life Safety Education grant. It will be used to continue the installation of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as to train citizens in fire prevention.
In 2011, the Chambersburg Emergency Services Department, in cooperation with Building Our Pride In Chambersburg Inc., began a new initiative to provide free installation of 10-year lithium battery smoke detectors in 65 homes within the designated “Elm Street” neighborhood.
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development provided a $5,000 grant through its Elm Street Program for the first phase of the smoke detector installation program. This included a Saturday open house at the McKinley Fire Station.
Borough officials said there was soon a waiting list for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire safety open house meetings. They said in a news release that the new grant funding will allow the program to continue and expand throughout the community.
In the news release, Emergency Services Chief William FitzGerald said the National Fire Protection Association reports almost two-thirds of home-fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Other statistics indicate Pennsylvania is 11th in the nation for fire deaths per capita.
Crews will be conducting quarterly open house and educational presentations at each of the borough’s fire stations. Programming will include fire safety, accident prevention, recreational safety, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, family emergency plans, kitchen safety, home exit drills and disaster preparedness.
The equipment provided by the grant includes 1,000 10-year lithium-powered smoke detectors, 500 plug-in carbon monoxide detectors, 1,000 reflective address signs for building identification, advertising, an Interactive Audience Response System, and presentation computer, camera, software and sound system.
FEMA will provide $65,430 and the Borough of Chambersburg will contribute $7,720 toward the program, the news release stated.
— Jennifer Fitch