BY MELANIE WADE –
The Mena Fire Department has been awarded a grant to install 100 smoke alarms in low-income and fixed-income homes within their district. The Community Fire Prevention Grant was received from the Arkansas Fire Prevention Commission and covers the cost of the smoke alarms and their installation by fire department personnel.
The smoke alarms come with lithium batteries that have a ten-year life span. “These are ones that last ten years; you don’t have to change the battery out at all,” explained Hankins. It is recommended to change out, not just the batteries of a smoke alarm every ten years, but the device itself. “Even after 15 or 20 years, as long as they still beep, people use them. However, manufacturers warn that the components, such as the ionization sensors, only have a lifespan of ten years.
“Sometimes when someone ‘burns the toast’ in their home, the smoke alarm will beep and they will pull the battery out to get it to stop. The problem with that is that they forget to put the batteries back in.” Hankins further explained that the smoke alarms they will install, don’t allow the batteries to be taken out, but they do have a handy button that can be pushed to reset the alarm.
The smoke alarms are meant for the low income and elderly who are on fixed incomes. Hankins said the application is short and interested persons should stop by Mena Fire Station Number One at 603 DeQueen Street or for questions, give them a call at 394-1234.
“Smoke alarms save lives. They are comparable to seat belts – it’s proven. We’ve actually had cases here in town in the last few years where smoke detectors alerted people and allowed them enough time to get out.”