Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department Awarded Fire Prevention Funds through the Assistance to Firefighters Grants Program

On Friday, April 26, 2013 the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department was notified by FEMA that funding for our grant proposal has been awarded through the Fire Prevention and Safety Grants, part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program. The proposal includes smoke alarms, batteries, and educational materials for our primary response area. The total project budget is $146,756; FEMA will provide $139,419 and the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department will fund the remaining balance.

After recent door-to-door fire prevention activities, we found an alarming trend among the homes in our primary response area. In the first activity, of the 100 houses that we visited, 50% didn’t have working smoke alarms. After a second activity was completed, we found that in another 100 homes 40% didn’t have working smoke alarms. While we have not had a fire fatality, we have responded to incidents in surrounding areas where we have discovered these same issues after the tragedy occurs.

In 2004-2005 the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department conducted a door-to-door activity to install smoke alarms in our primary response area in order to prevent these types of tragedies. It’s clear that we must reach out to our community once again to make sure they are properly equipped and better educated on the importance of smoke alarms in their home.

Our objective is to conduct a door-to-door smoke alarm campaign across our primary response area to ensure that each home has working smoke alarms and to better educate our neighbors on the importance of maintaining these units. The members of the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department will install up to two dual sensor (photoelectric/ ionization) smoke alarms per household for those who need one, and for those homes that have the appropriate alarms installed we will replace batteries to ensure that they are in working condition.

Installing dual sensor smoke alarms combine photoelectric and ionization technology to detect and warn of two different types of fire that could occur in the home. These dual sensor alarms will alert families to fast-moving, flaming fires and smoldering, smoky fires. In addition to installing smoke alarms, we will also provide an information kit to each household stressing the importance of smoke alarms and how they should be maintained. Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department would also offer households the opportunity to participate in an opt-in E-mail reminder program that would let them know when to test and maintain their smoke alarms.