Smoke Alarms

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2008

Grant will provide 12,000 smoke alarms

By Billy Davis
Panola County has been awarded a generous federal grant that will allow most homes in the county to have a working smoke alarm.

Panola County Emergency Management announced the $256,000 grant this week.

The grant, which comes from the Dept. of Homeland Security, includes $225,000 for the alarms and $31,500 for the purchase of 10-year lithium batteries.

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Panola County EMA deputy director Daniel Cole and Batesville firefighter Rip Copeland jointly applied for the federal funds.

EMA must now search for a source to purchase the alarms and batteries.

Panola County’s quest for grant monies came after nine fire-related deaths were reported in 2007, the highest number in a state that already leads the nation in fire deaths.

Eight of the nine deaths occurred in a home, and only one of those homes had a working smoke alarm.

The latest fire fatality occurred on November 28 when two-year-old Mylesiyah Conner perished in a mobile home on Good Hope Road.

A fire safety grant from the National Fire Prevention Association allowed Panola County to receive 1,433 Kidde brand smoke alarms late last year. They have since been distributed by volunteer firefighters.

Cole told the board of supervisors Monday that the second-highest fire safety grant in Mississippi was for $125,000.

Cole estimated the grant money can be stretched to purchase about 12,000 smoke alarms and batteries.

The 2000 U.S. Census estimated 12,232 households in Panola County.
Cole advised supervisors that storing the smoke alarms could pose a challenge for EMA.