Grant Money Funds Miss. Detectors

HAZLEHURST, Miss. --

A federal grant will provide free smoke alarms for 200 Copiah County residents, state officials said.

The 200 special sealed smoke alarms with a 10-year battery are the first shipment of 50,000 smoke alarms purchased with the nearly $1 million in funds awarded to the State Fire Marshals Office by the Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant-Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program. Copiah County was among the first applicants for smoke alarms following the announcement of the grant in March.

In 2009, there were 368 fires and five fire deaths and five fire injuries reported in Copiah County, according to the Mississippi Fire Incident Reporting System. Losses from fires in the county totaled just over $4.1 million. There has been one fire death reported in Copiah County thus far this year.

"Every smoke alarm installed helps save lives and property. There are far too many fire deaths in Mississippi -- even one life lost to fire is one life too many," Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said.

Installation and delivery of smoke alarms through the State Fire Marshal's Office Free Smoke Alarm Installation Program is coordinated through county fire coordinators. During the visit to install alarms firefighters will provide fire prevention and home escape planning education and leave educational brochures for the residents to review after the firefighters have left. Low income families, senior citizens, families with children under 14 and persons with disabilities are being targeted to receive smoke alarms.

The State Fire Marshal Free Smoke Alarm Installation Program will be distributing future shipments of alarms throughout the remainder of the year.

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