published Monday, July 4th, 2011

Fire officials seeking help for prevention

Nathan Anderson, a firefighter with the Dayton, Tenn., Fire Department, inspects one of the free smoke detectors that was recently installed at Marsha Newell's residence.  The department received 250 detectors paid for by federal grant money to help prevent house fires.
Nathan Anderson, a firefighter with the Dayton, Tenn., Fire Department, inspects one of the free smoke detectors that was recently installed at Marsha Newell's residence. The department received 250 detectors paid for by federal grant money to help prevent house fires.
Photo by Kimberly McMillian.

DAYTON, Tenn. — For Marsha Newell, one of Dayton’s elderly residents, having the Dayton Fire Department install free smoke detectors was a blessing.

Chief Chuck Suttles said the department received 250 smoke detectors through federal grant money for distribution in the city. “We chose to [participate]” with the assistance, Suttles said.

Chief Billy Cranfield, with the Rhea County Fire Department, said that he was checking into getting 1,000 smoke detectors for county residents.

Suttles said residents with smoke detectors should check them at least twice a year to ensure they’re properly working.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from the failure or absence of a working smoke alarm.

In the last five years or so, fire prevention recommendations have changed, Suttles said. Homes should have detectors in each bedroom and in the hallway, totaling at least three or four per home, if not more, he said.

County Executive George Thacker said recent storms have contributed to an increase in home fires, and he’s working on a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the county’s fire department.

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