News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

September 8, 2011

VIDEO: Fundraiser puts fire prevention efforts in the spotlight

Money will help THFD provide free smoke detectors

TERRE HAUTE — Making sure working smoke detectors are installed in every Terre Haute residence remains a top priority with local firefighters in a year that has seen four deaths in home fires.

On the many emergency runs that firefighters make each week, too often they find a home does not have a working smoke detector — either the battery is dead or missing, or no smoke detector exists.

A local ordinance requires all landlords to provide working smoke detectors in each rental unit. Some landlords have a checklist that requires new tenants to acknowledge the presence of a working smoke detector.

Once the tenant takes over the property, however, the responsibility falls on the tenant to make sure the smoke detector operates.

The ongoing effort to provide smoke detectors for all local dwellings will get a boost Friday when Terre Haute firefighters and police officers team up for the Heroes Helping Heroes golf outing at Rea Park.

The fundraiser is sponsored by ServPro and organizer Chad Overton, who said all money raised through the charity golf outing will go to police and fire department philanthropic projects.

Firefighter Jeff Hodges said the fire department plans to use its share of the golf outing proceeds to buy more smoke detectors to give away to local residents as a continuation of the Protecting the Precious Smoke Detector Blitz, which he says was  successful in the spring.

“We gave away 500 smoke detectors on that day,” Hodges said of the April giveaway, “so we hope to get another 500 units to give out at our next blitz.”

The date for the blitz has not been set and details are still being worked out, he said, but the goal is to hand out the free smoke detectors on the weekend of the fall time change.

Meanwhile, firefighter Rich Gallagher is working on a smoke detector education effort for the Vigo County school system that would encourage students to have parents check the batteries in their home smoke detectors monthly.

The details of that program are also still in the works, Gallagher said, but he hopes ongoing efforts to promote fire prevention while equipping each home with a working smoke detector will reach all residences in the county.

Gallagher said he plans to do monthly promotional videos on fire safety and encouraging people to check their smoke detector batteries. The most recent video can be viewed online at www.tribstar.com.

To sign up for Friday’s golf outing, contact Overton at (812) 208-1089. Fees are $75 per individual or $300 per four-person team. That fee covers food provided by Rick’s Smokehouse; beverages provided by the Ballyhoo, Dever Distributing and Pepsi; a T-shirt; and a round of golf. Prizes will be awarded.

To make a donation to the fire department’s smoke detector effort, call the Terre Haute Fire Department at (812) 234-8653.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com.

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