LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2017) – The Lexington Fire Department has installed nearly 8,000 smoke alarms in Lexington homes since 2013, but the work may have to be put on hold till funding catches up.
“We really have a need for this in Lexington,” said Lexington Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Best. “We’ve had 3 fatal fires resulting in 6 deaths in Fayette County this year. Unfortunately, there weren’t working smoke alarms in those homes.”
Nationwide, 3 out of 5 home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. The most vulnerable groups are children under 12 and the elderly. “Sadly, we are mirroring the national statistics. Four of our 6 losses are from the most vulnerable groups,” said Best. “We are working hard to reverse this trend here in Lexington.” However, for the first time since the program began in 2013, demand has exceeded the Fire Department’s ability to supply the alarms.
The Fire Department has used money from five different grants to purchase smoke alarms over the years, and the Department receives a weekly supply of free smoke alarms from the American Red Cross. Additional donations from various sources also supplement the program. Despite this support, the Department is down to a two-week supply.
Best said the Department estimates it will need $14,000 to cover the homes it has scheduled between now and the end of the year.
“We’ve been very diligent in applying for grants and working with our community partners to keep the program going, but we are falling behind,” said Best. “We need help to keep this life-saving program going.”
The Lexington Fraternal Order of Firefighters is seeking donations to support the program. “We know how important smoke alarms can be to families,” Fraternal Order of Firefighter President Todd Houston says. “The FOF now has a link on their webpage where people can use PayPal to make FOF Alarm Donations.” Those who don’t have access to PayPal can mail checks to the Fraternal Order of Firefighters, 1405 Old Frankfort Pike, Lexington, KY 40504. Donors should write “smoke alarms” in the memo section of the check.
“It’s proven that smoke alarms save lives,” said Houston. “If we all pitch in we can help make Lexington a safer place to live.”