Batesville firefighters give away smoke detectors, fire extingui - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Batesville firefighters give away smoke detectors, fire extinguishers

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Fire risks go up greatly whenever the temperatures fall like they have.

That's because more people are cranking up their heaters, lighting their fireplaces and plugging in space heaters. These have opened up the possibility of causing house fires, but this winter the Batesville Fire Department has worked to prevent homes from going up in flames through additional education and some helpful giveaways.

The firefighters have given away and installed hundreds of free smoke alarms and fire extinguishers during the past few weeks. All this extra work has apparently paid off because they said the normally busy winter season have been fairly slow.

Batesville firefighter Mark McCollum said there has been a noticeable drop in fire calls this winter. He claimed that there have been fewer incidents lately because of all the extra fire education that the department has done for kids and adults alike.

He said more people are able to detect fires earlier, too, because of a grant that the fire department got from State Farm Insurance recently. The money allowed them to buy hundreds of smoke alarms that they have given away to people at no cost to them.

"We actually install [the smoke alarms] in people's houses," McCollum said. "If they live in the City of Batesville, we will actually come to their house and do a home inspection and check stuff."

During one of these home inspections, McCollum said the firefighters will install a fire extinguisher for free as well as try to identify fire hazards in people's homes. He said they will also offer homeowners some advice, like sleeping with their bedroom door closed.

"At night everyone needs to have their closed in their bedroom," he said. "People just don't know that it's a safety [measure]. That door is a fire barrier."

The Batesville Fire Department is only able to give away smoke alarms and fire extinguishers to Batesville residents. If someone does not live in Batesville, then they should check with their local fire department because many of them have similar programs.

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