Oktibbeha County receives free fire alarms

 Brad Davis, a Deputy Fire Marshal from Hattiesburg, Starkville Fire Marshal Mark McCurdy, Stein McMullen from Starkville Fire Department, State Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Ricky Davis, and Oktibbeha County Fire Services Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan unload smoke alarms to be distributed throughout Oktibbeha County. (Photo by Sarah Raines, SDN)
Staff Writer

State Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Ricky Davis delivered 204 smoke alarms to Fire Station 1 on Tuesday, April 18.

"In the last 10 years, Oktibbeha County has had 21 fire deaths," Davis said. "fifteen of those deaths had no or non-working smoke alarms."

In 2006, Mississippi had the highest number of fire deaths in the nation. Since the start of the Smoke Alarm Program, Mississippi has dropped to number five in fire deaths. In the last three years alone, the fire death rate in Mississippi has dropped by 35 percent.

Oktibbeha County Fire Services, led by Kirk Rosenhan, the County Fire Services Coordinator, will distribute and install the smoke alarms to homes in the county, free of charge. 

Davis said this is the third time the State Fire Marshal's Office partnered with 20/20 Vision, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fire prevention awareness throughout the nation. Acquiring the smoke alarms comes at no cost to the state because of its partnership with 20/20 Vision.

In 2010, a grant of nearly $1 million was given to Mississippi for the purpose of distributing smoke alarms to homes. Davis said he has reapplied for the grant this year.

In a survey conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission between 2009 and 2013, the most common reasons for a smoke alarm to fail is a missing or disconnected battery or a dead battery.

The smoke alarms being distributed have specially-made batteries that only fit in the smoke alarms, so they cannot be used to replace batteries in other appliances. The batteries are also made to last for 10 years.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be tested once a month and replaced every 10 years.

"A working smoke alarm will save your life," Davis said. "A smoke alarm, education, and having a fire plan in the house all play a part."

Any residents who wish to request a smoke alarm may ask a local fire station or call Kirk Rosenhan at  662-435-0565.