Montevallo focuses on fire prevention
By MICHELLE ADAMS / Community Columnist
Fire drills occur at every school each month to prepare students and teachers in the event a fire should take place. Firemen visit schools and pre-schools to teach children fire preparedness.
Remember “stop, drop, and roll?” Well, what if you don’t even have a chance to stop, much less drop, or recall an escape route, if an alarm is not sounding to warn you of a fire? A working smoke alarm is an imperative need for many households.
“There have been 69 fire fatalities in the state of Alabama as of August of this year,” Montevallo Fire Marshall Brandon Broadhead said.
Montevallo is not immune to such statistics. Shelby Emergency Assistance provided aid to nine families who were homeless or had damage due to house fires in 2013. Also, there were two fatalities in the community of Wilton due to a house fire.
“We had a growing concern over the number of homes without working smoke alarms,” Executive Director of Shelby Emergency Assistance Karen Pendleton said. “Lower-income families often could not afford to buy them, and many elderly people were no longer able to climb to replace batteries in smoke alarms.”
In a joint effort between SEA, Bob Butterworth of State Farm Insurance, the Montevallo Fire Department, and the Montevallo Rotary Club, the Smoke Alarm Installation Project was formed, with the purpose of distributing and installing smoke alarms to the most vulnerable populations—lower-income and elderly households.
In preparation for the project’s kick-off, planned for Saturday, October 4, during the Montevallo Fire Prevention Parade, Rotary Club members participated in smoke alarm installation training earlier this month, led by Broadhead.
“Because Alabama is number-one in fire deaths per capita, the Alabama Fire Chiefs Association has adopted a new fire prevention logo,” Broadhead said. “It is our hope that all residents will ‘Turn Your Attention to Fire Prevention’ to help combat the rising problem of fire deaths in our state.”
Turn your attention to the smoke alarm in your house: Test it monthly to ensure it is working properly. Then, ask your neighbor if he has checked his.