Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Blowing Smoke

Minden Fire Dept. shares smoke detectors with public

Minden homeowners will be able to take advantage of Fire Prevention Week, which is in full swing until October 13, by receiving a free smoke detector from the Minden Fire Department.

"We want to get the word out about these smoke detectors because this is something we have never done," Assistant Fire Chief Tommy John Hughes said. "Conoco Phillips provided the grant of approximately $3,500 to purchase the detectors, which covered the cost of 350 detectors."

The criteria to receive a detector was modeled after other cities in Louisiana and neighboring states.

To receive a free detector, residents must fill out a form and meet the following requirements:

Must live in Minden.

Must own or be buying the home and occupy the residence – renters or landlords do not qualify.

Priority will be given to residents 55 and older and to residents with children in the home.

Detectors come with a battery, and homeowners are responsible for installation.

"Unless there is situation where the homeowners cannot physically install it themselves and do not have anyone that can install it for them, we will make ourselves available to do that for those homeowners," Hughes said. "In the past we have given out smoke detectors that we purchased on our own. But having this grant to purchase detectors is a real God-send because there are people who cannot afford a detector."

Hughes said fire prevention week started back in the 1871, when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern in the barn and caused the great fire of Chicago.

"Chicago burned up; it killed a lot of people and damaged a lot of construction and buildings," he said. "But that was not the only fire that happened that day nor the biggest fire.

"There was another fire in Wisconsin that burned that day. More than 1,000 people were killed and burnt 1.2 million acres and burned down 16 towns," he continued. "But the cow kicking over the lantern makes for a better story to promote Fire Prevention Week, which began in 1920, when the first proclamation was signed by President Woodrow Wilson, making it the longest running public safety program to date."

This week, Minden Fire Department is taking their Fire Prevention Program to Minden schools.

"We will be passing out trinkets and hats and doing the program with kids," Hughes said. "When it is all said and done we will have reached more than 1,250 kids during Fire Prevention Week.

"It must be working because our department is pretty quiet as far as fires go. We don't have the structure fires we used to have," he continued. "Statistics show that a working smoke detector will cut down fire death by over 60 percent. Last year alone 62 percent of fire deaths across the United States were caused by a non-working or non-installed fire detector. So we feel this is a big deal and are glad to be able to provide these to the public."






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