Preventing fires

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Cape Girardeau Fire Department firefighters and volunteers have been going from door to door on the south and east sides of the city this month, distributing smoke detectors and batteries.

A $64,000 Fire Prevention and Safety Grant from the Department of Homeland Security is paying for the program, which targets high-risk residents.

Statistically, the east side of Cape Girardeau poses the highest risk for fires. Areas of the city targeted are east of Kingshighway on the south side and east of Perryville Road on the north side. High-risk residents are children under 14, seniors above 65, low-income residents and college students. High-risk residents also include on-duty firefighters, who are at risk because they sometimes must rescue other high-risk people.

A smoke detector is being provided for each level of the houses visited. While there, firefighters are leaving educational material about home escape plans.

The department has 4,800 smoke detectors and 4,800 batteries available to distribute. Only batteries are being replaced in houses with working smoke detectors. The program is a reminder that the switch to daylight-saving time Oct. 30 is a good time for everyone to change the batteries in their house's smoke detectors.

Nearly 3,400 people die each year from fires at home. .In two-thirds of those fires, smoke alarms are either missing or not working.

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