Grant to help IFD purchase smoke alarms

Published 1:16 pm Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hopes to reduce fire-related incidents

The Ironton Fire Department has gotten a $2,000 grant and plans to use it to buy smoke detectors.

IFD Chief Mike “Moose” Mahlmeister said the reason for trying to get smoke alarms is simple.

“It’s a proven fact that they save lives,” he said. “This past summer, we had a house in Ironton that we put one in. A fire had started in the basement. And the detector woke the people up and got them out of the house.”

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Mahlmeister said he applied for the grant in the middle of January and just found out late last week that the department had gotten the grant.

“We had to be fairly specific in the grant and I put it toward smoke detectors,” he explained.

The IFD is part of a state smoke detector program, Smoke Alarms For Everyone (SAFE) that targets areas that have had a high number of fire-related deaths.

“Thankfully, we haven’t had a high fire fatality rate here in Lawrence County, so our supply has been pretty limited. We get a dozen free at a time,” Mahlmeister said. “So I wanted to bolster that supply.”

The plan now is to buy the smoke detectors and then when requested, the IFD will come and install them in homes for the residents.

“The first stipulation is that they have no smoke detectors in the home,” Mahlmeister said. “We want to get at least one smoke alarm in every house in the city.”

Mahlmeister said there are many people in Ironton who don’t have the means to buy smoke alarms and “those are the ones we really want to target, we want these fire safety alarms in every home.”

Mahlmeister doesn’t know yet if they will be able to get through a state program or if they will have to buy them retail.

“I just want to get as much bang for the buck as I can,” he said. “The more, the better, because there are people out there who desperately need them.”

He said the number of fires varies year by year but it is around 30 or so annually.

“That doesn’t sound like a large number but that doesn’t mean we need to be less vigilant,” Mahlmeister said.

The grant money is supposed to come within the next two weeks and then the smoke detectors will be purchased, so Mahlmeister hopes to have the program up and running within the month.

The grant comes from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, to be used to reduce fires.

“We strongly believe the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” said Michael Spaziani, FM Global’s manager of fire prevention grant program. “Far too often, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be. With additional financial support, grant recipients are actively helping to improve property risk in the communities they serve.”