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Department prepares for Fire Safety Month

By Staff
Melissa Cason
The Federal Emergency Management Agency designates each October to fire safety, and in an effort to make Russellville homes safer from fire, the Russellville Fire Department is kicking off Fire Safety Month a little early this year.
Fire Chief Joe Mansell and Fire Marshal Bobby Malone are getting to work a little earlier this year encouraging residents to take advantage of the services offered by the department.
Malone said the department offers several services to help protect homes from fire, including safety inspection.
"We can come out and make sure your home isn't in any immediate danger of a fire," Malone said. "We can't make the homeowner take our recommendations because they are only recommendations."
During an inspection, proper operation of each smoke detector is checked.
Malone said 80 percent of homes do have smoke detectors now, but 20 percent of those homes have smoke detectors that don't work.
"It's important for everyone to test their smoke detectors every month, and to change the batteries in them once per year," Malone said. "Fire deaths occur in the 20 percent that doesn't have a working smoke detector."
Mansell said the department has approximately 100 smoke detectors they will be able to give out but this year they want to go a step further than just giving them out.
"This year, we are really pushing to install them for the resident so that we know they are working and installed correctly," Mansell said.
Mansell said the department usually targets the low-income and elderly households during Fire Safety Month but this year the department will try to make sure everyone who needs a smoke detector gets one.
"We can't promise everyone who wants one will get one because we do have limitations, but we want everyone in Russellville to have a working smoke detector," Mansell said.
The fire department is going to be out in full force beginning this week to educate the public about the need for smoke detectors.
Malone said another need in Russellville is for each household to hold a fire drill at home, and not just in the daytime.
"There should be two exits from each room of your home," Malone said. "And each household should practice the drill on a regular basis."
Both Malone and Mansell encourage the public to call on them for information regarding fire safety.
"We are here and we encourage the public to use us if needed," Malone said.
Mansell said the department works diligently to prevent fires and to educate residents on what avenues to take should a fire occur.
For more information about Fire Safety Month or to schedule your home inspection or smoke detector installation, call 332-8761.

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