NFPA smoke alarm installation program extends to Louisiana and Tennessee

Published on March 17, 2005
Federal funding means more high-risk communities will receive smoke alarms and targeted safety training

March 17, 2005 –The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has received a 2004 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to continue its education and technology campaign designed to protect high-risk groups from fire. NFPA’s cost share is $286,686 and the Association was awarded $668,912 in federal funds to extend the campaign into Louisiana and Tennessee. (The grant will also support another NFPA project, evacuation planning seminars, that will be presented throughout the U.S.)

NFPA received federal funding in 2003 to launch the “Meeting the Needs of High-Risk Communities through Education and Technology” program in Alabama, Mississippiand the Navajo Nation. This 2004 grant makes it possible to reach more high-fire risk groups by reaching out to two additional states.

According to NFPA’s 2004 report, U.S. Fire Death Patterns by State, the fire death rates in Louisiana and Tennesseeare among the highest in the nation. Nationally, preschool age children and older adults are at highest risk of home fire death. Very young children have a home fire death rate that is nearly twice the national average. For older adults, the risk increases with age, from twice the national average at age 65 and older to four-and-a-half times greater for those age 85 and older.

Specifically reaching out to children and older adults is a key component of the program. One hundred teachers in Louisiana will be offered implementation of the acclaimed Risk Watch®: Unintentional Injuries safety curriculum for preschool through grade 8 classrooms. Risk Watch teaches children how to identify and avoid the leading causes of injury, including fire.

Older adults in Louisiana and Tennesseewill receive group training sessions utilizing the safety methodology of NFPA’s Remembering When: A Fire and Falls Prevention Program for Older Adults™. A minimum of 50 home visits will also be conducted in each state.

Each state will receive installation program training for fire service and health representatives and up to 7,000 smoke alarms. Household installation of the alarms will be complemented by testing existing smoke alarms and reviewing home fire escape planning information with residents. Nationally, smoke alarm installation and maintenance education is vital. Half of the fatal home fires occur where no smoke alarms are installed and in one-quarter of the homes where fires occur, the installed smoke alarms do not operate.

The grant also provides for analysis of survey data collected in Alabama and Mississippiunder the 2003 grant, and the issuance of a report on the findings. NFPA will also conduct debriefing meetings in those states to communicate the results of the smoke alarm installation project.

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.