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Spokane Valley Secures Federal Funds for Fire Prevention
Hundreds to Receive Free Home Fire Safety Visits and Smoke Alarms
Spokane Valley, Wash. – More than 500 homes will receive free Home Fire Safety Visits from the Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD), thanks to a new $117,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The grant is being used to support and expand SVFD’s new Community Risk Reduction program.
The grant funding will primarily be used to purchase supplies and equipment including 3,000 smoke alarms, 500 carbon monoxide alarms, 100 flashing light alarms and 100 bed shaker alarms (for the deaf/hard of hearing) and 100 combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms. The funds will also pay for public safety materials and training.
“In exchange for the grant funding, we have committed to complete at least 500 free Home Fire Safety Visits within one year, “explained Elysia Spencer, SVFD’s Community Risk Reduction Specialist. “This commitment includes two Home Fire Safety Visit “blitzes” in high-risk neighborhoods identified through analysis of fire department data, demographics, the age of homes in the area, and risk factors including fire fatalities within the last 10 years. With nearly 60 percent of all home fire fatalities occurring in residences without working smoke alarms, our goal is to prevent residents from becoming part of that statistic.”
SVFD recently completed the first of the two “blitzes” in the University neighborhood (Sprague to Broadway Ave. and University to Mullan Rd), in conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week. Teams of volunteers knocked on more than 450 doors, gaining access into 99 homes. With the resident’s permission, the volunteer teams tested existing smoke alarms and installed 386 new smoke alarms to ensure working smoke alarms are in the right locations throughout each home. In one home housing a family of 7, volunteers found four pre-existing smoke alarms but none were working. They installed 8 smoke alarms in that home, alone. Overall, volunteers noted 196 pre-existing smoke alarms, but found less than half were working.
In addition to smoke alarms, residents also received information and instructions focused on the 2017 National Fire Prevention Week emphasis – “Every Second Counts – Plan Two Ways Out!” And, residents received a Home Fire Safety Checklist with important information about cooking safety, smoking, heating, electrical safety and more. SVFD partnered with the American Red Cross and local volunteers to complete the five-hour Home Fire Safety Visit blitz.
“The infusion of funding into our new Home Fire Safety Visit program will immediately result in safer homes for residents, as well as safer environments for first responders,” explained Elysia Spencer, SVFD’s Community Risk Reduction Specialist. “In the long-term, educated residents will be empowered to continue to proactively improve the health and safety of their residence, resulting in decreased injuries and fatalities from identified risks.”
The FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant is in the Fire Prevention and Safety category. Of the $117,000 grant amount, SVFD must match $5,571 with the remaining $111,429 from FEMA. The grant was awarded to SVFD in September 2017.
Year to date (including pre-grant), SVFD personnel have visited more than 400 homes and have installed nearly 1,300 smoke alarms, 80 batteries, 10 carbon monoxide alarms, 1 flashing smoke alarm and 1 bed shaker smoke alarm. Additionally, 22 smoke and 30 carbon monoxide alarms were relocated within residences for proper function. These visits are performed by Prevention staff and by on-duty crews when in homes on emergency calls.
All SVFD residents are eligible for a free Home Fire Safety Visit. These visits are scheduled by calling 892-4153 or visiting www.spokanevalleyfire.com.
About Spokane Valley Fire Department SVFD serves the City of Spokane Valley, City of Liberty Lake, City of Millwood and unincorporated areas of Spokane County with a combined population of 125,000 across 75 square miles. SVFD firefighters and paramedics responded to more than 16,250 emergency calls in 2016. Established in 1940, SVFD is an Accredited Agency by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, one of only a handful in Washington State. SVFD operates 10 fire stations providing fire, emergency medical, rescue and other emergency services. More information at www.spokanevalleyfire.com. ###
- Julie Happy