Batesville firefighters give away smoke detectors, fire extinguishers

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Fire risks go up greatly wheneverthe 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 upthe possibility of causing house fires, but this winter the Batesville FireDepartment has worked to prevent homes from going up in flames throughadditional education and some helpful giveaways.

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

Batesville firefighter Mark McCollum said there has been anoticeable drop in fire calls this winter. He claimed that there have beenfewer incidents lately because of all the extra fire education that thedepartment 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 givenaway 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 cometo their house and do a home inspection and check stuff."

During one of these home inspections, McCollum said thefirefighters will install a fire extinguisher for free as well as try toidentify fire hazards in people's homes. He said they will also offer homeownerssome 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 afire barrier."

The Batesville Fire Department is only able to give awaysmoke alarms and fire extinguishers to Batesville residents. If someone doesnot live in Batesville, then they should check with their local fire departmentbecause many of them have similar programs.

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