Proposal gives low-income families smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

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COLUMBIA - An initiative is up for approval Tuesday night at city council that could save a life.

"Share the Light" is a program where Columbia residents can opt to contribute to as many as six areas beyond basic city services. The “fire prevention” area is asking for $983.19 in funds to be appropriated for the Columbia Fire Department to buy smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. CFD will then distribute the devices to low-income families.

CFD Assistant Fire Chief Brad Fraizer says he’s confident the proposal will go through because it is on the consent agenda.

“We have smoke alarms on all our fire trucks, so if we’re on an emergency call or we’re out in the community and we recognize someone with a need for one, we’ll give them one and help them install it,” Fraizer said.

Last week, one Columbia man died in a house fire on Lakeview Avenue. According to a previous KOMU 8 News report, there were no working smoke alarms in the residence.

“That was a very unfortunate incident, but it does highlight the need for smoke alarms,” Fraizer said. “It’s proven they save lives. It’s a very effective means of early notification.”

Another Columbia resident said her smoke alarm was the reason she stopped a kitchen fire about 10 years ago.

“If I have them all in working condition, it makes me feel safer because I’m dependent on them to wake me up,” 87 year-old Eartha Bridgeford said.

Bridgeford recently had a hip replacement and tore her rotator cuff, which means she’s reliant on her sons to check her devices for her. Her hope is for CFD to get as many smoke detectors as possible.

If city council approves the appropriation of funds for Share the Light, families will be able to get free devices at the Fire Administration building on Orr Street.

“It fills a need in the community for a very important life safety feature,” Fraizer said. “We’re very pleased to provide that to the community and through the Share the Light fund.”

Fraizer encourages households to check their devices monthly and replace their batteries every six months.