NFPA, USFA, local leaders mark Fire Prevention Week with smoke alarm installations
Tchula, Miss., October 6, 2003 – One year after a deadly home fire killed six children in Holmes County, Miss., national organizations and local leaders are working together to prevent a similar tragedy. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the Mississippi High-Risk Fire Safety Task Force have joined together to provide and install nearly 9,000 smoke alarms in homes throughout the entire county. This project will put a smoke alarm in every home in Holmes County, one of the most impoverished areas in the nation.
NFPA President and CEO James M. Shannon and community leaders announced the program today at the Tchula, Miss., Fire Department as part of Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 5-11).
Mississippi, and especially Holmes County, has been hardest hit by fire deaths in homes without working smoke alarms. Of more than 50 fire deaths recently investigated in Mississippi by the state Office of the Fire Marshal, not one occurred in a home with a working smoke alarm.
"All of us at NFPA have dedicated our professional lives to helping to prevent tragedies such as the Tchula fire," said Shannon, of the nonprofit NFPA. "There is no question, that working smoke alarms can save lives. And, by providing every home in the county with a working smoke alarm, this program will help to keep families safer."
"We are pleased to be working with NFPA and the Mississippi High-Risk Fire Safety Task Force to provide Holmes County with these smoke alarms," said Ken Burris, FEMA regional director. "We hope that this unique effort will also help to teach residents about the importance of fire safety in the home."
NFPA and USFA provide smoke alarms for every home in Holmes County, Miss.
Following the Tchula fire last year, Holmes County leaders established the Mississippi High-Risk Fire Safety Task Force to provide children and older adults with fire safety educational programs; ensure that every household in Holmes County has a working smoke alarm; increase fire safety awareness; address problems of fire and fire hazards in housing; and review and improve fire safety codes and legislation in the area.
Representatives from the NFPA, USFA, Mississippi High-Risk Fire Safety Task Force, and community volunteers began installing the smoke alarms today. It is expected that it will take six to nine months to install all 9,000 smoke alarms.
NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating scientifically-based consensus codes and standards, research, training and education. NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week since 1922.
As an entity of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, USFA, now part of the Department of Homeland Security, works to reduce life and economic losses due to fire and related emergencies, through leadership, advocacy, coordination and support. USFA serves the Nation independently, in coordination with other Federal agencies, and in partnership with fire protection and emergency service communities. With a commitment to excellence, USFA provides public education, training, technology and data initiatives.
About the Mississippi High-Risk Fire Safety Task Force
The Mississippi High-Risk Fire Safety Task Force was formed following the tragic home fire in Tchula that took the lives of six children. The group's mission is to eliminate fire deaths by promoting fire safety in high-risk areas through increased awareness, education, and accountability.