BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal announced that the department will receive a $168,750 federal grant to increase the number of smoke alarms distributed to residents throughout the state.

This is not the first time that the SFA has received FEMA’s Fire Prevention and Safety Grant. They were awarded smaller grants in 2018 and 2019, but this is the first time they will receive the total amount requested.

The SFM normally distributes between 2,500 and 5,000 smoke detectors yearly, this amount varies depending on budget availability. The grant from FEMA will increase the agency’s smoke alarm inventory to more than 15,000 units. These additional smoke alarms will support Operation Save-A-Life, which partners the SFM with local fire departments to provide smoke alarms at no cost to Louisiana families.

This year’s fire fatality count is 59, which is lower than the 77 fatalities recorded this time last year. The decrease is good news, but the SFM strongly encourages all families to make sure that they have working smoke alarms in their homes.

“We are thrilled that our Operation Save-A-Life program was considered worthy of the support of this sizeable grant,” State Fire Marshal Chief H. “Butch” Browning said in a statement, “This opportunity to access so many of these life-saving devices comes just in time for consistent cold temperatures to settle in across our state.”

Statewide forecasts predict a cold start to the new year, and Chief Browning also provided the department’s top safe heating tips:

• Place space heaters 3-5 feet from combustible objects like blankets and curtains
• Plug all heating appliances directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords
• Do not use stoves or ovens to heat homes
• Don’t overfill fireplaces/wood-burning stoves
• Do not leave candles/open flames (or space heaters) left unattended
• Have working smoke alarms in your home!

Fire officials also encourage residents to purchase a carbon monoxide alarm for additional safety. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane actively burn. The SFM suggests that you have heating and cooking equipment that emits carbon monoxide inspected by a professional before the onset of cold weather each year to identify potential safety hazards.

In addition to having working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, the SFM also emphasizes the importance of having planned and practiced escape routes for your family that include knowing two ways out of every room.

To register for a free smoke alarm, or learn more about Operation Save-A-Life, visit lasfm.org or contact your local fire department.

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