The State Fire Marshal’s office is taking steps toward a goal of equipping every home in Iowa with a working smoke detector. The annual State Fire School is taking place today in Ames and involves training for firefighters from around Iowa.
State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds says they’ll be going home with some new skills and 9 volt batteries. The batteries, 13,000 of them, are part of a new program dubbed Operation Safe Senior.
Reynolds says Energizer donated the batteries which fire and ambulance crews will keep in their emergency vehicles. The batteries will be delivered to the homes of senior citizens when fire or EMS personnel are sent out on welfare checks or medical calls. Reynolds says fires resulting in fatalities could be greatly reduced in Iowa if more homes had working smoke detectors.
Over the last five years, 187 people have died in fires in Iowa. Reynolds says around 90% of those fires involved a home without a working smoke detector. Reynolds’ agency is also working with elementary schools to install working smoke detectors in the homes of Iowa school children.