Harris County Emergency Service District No. 10/Eastex Fire Department will be hosting its very first Smoke Alarm Blitz Saturday, Jan. 25. Eastex Fire Department has partnered with the American Red Cross to install smoke alarms. Firefighters from Eastex Fire Department and members of the American Red Cross will visit residents in the North Belt Forest mobile home community Jan. 25 to perform free smoke alarm inspections, replacing batteries and installing smoke alarms as needed. It’s part of a community-wide fire prevention effort.

The district campaign is part of an effort to reach out to local residents including older adults, young people and residents of neighborhoods who are vulnerable to fire deaths. Installing smoke alarms in the homes of residents of Harris County ESD No. 10 district who don’t have them will increase their odds of surviving a home fire.

“Harris County ESD No. 10 is the tax authority for emergency fire services for 50 square miles of Northeast Harris County that Eastex Fire Department covers. Harris County ESD No. 10, along with the Fire Chief Bryan Harris, has allocated funds for fire prevention,” said Jason Tharp, district chief, Eastex Fire Department.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the international nonprofit leader in fire, electrical, building and life safety and official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week, working smoke alarms are the key to saving lives from fire. “Smoke alarms are the most effective early warning device there is,” said Judy Comoletti, NFPA’s division manager for public education. “Just having a smoke alarm in your home cuts your chance of dying in a reported fire in half.”

“Our goal is to make sure residents have the protection of a smoke alarm,” said Tharp, “because smoke alarms alone won’t prevent every fire death. Our project includes educating residents to have a home fire escape plan so they know what to do if the smoke alarm sounds.”

During the smoke alarm installation program, Eastex firefighters and American Red Cross volunteers will fan out through the area, visiting residents in the North Belt Forest community. The American Red Cross will provide the first three smoke alarms and any smoke alarms needed after that is provided by the department at no cost to the residents.

“Fire can grow and spread through a home in a matter of minutes,” said Tharp. “That’s why the advance warning provided by smoke alarms can be essential to saving lives. Smoke alarms expire 10 years from the manufacture date printed on the back of the alarm. Pushing the test button and experiencing the sounding of the alarm does not guarantee the alarm will detect and sound in the event of a fire if your alarms are expired. By participating in this community smoke alarm installation, Eastex Fire Department is helping to ensure that local residents are safer in their homes.”

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