A deadly December fire in Hillaryville prompted state Fire Marshal Butch Browning to push for the installation of smoke alarms in every home in Ascension Parish.
Browning, of Gonzales, launched the Ascension Parish Operation Save a Life campaign during a recent meeting of clergy, civic groups and firefighters.
The campaign is designed to bring volunteers together to identify residents who don’t have smoke alarms in their home and can’t afford the devices.
Browning said the community collaboration is an important component of the campaign “because you know our communities and you know who really needs these smoke alarms.”
“Properly installed and maintained residential smoke alarms are one of the best and least expensive ways to provide an early warning when a fire begins,” Browning said. “Smoke alarms save lives, prevent injuries and minimize property damage by alerting residents early to a fire hazard.
“I don’t want to have to respond to another fire like that one in December.”
Two boys died when the mobile home they were living in burned, he said. The home did not have working smoke alarms, he said.
Browning’s office secured a $100,000 appropriation from the state Legislature to purchase and install the alarms across the state.
He said they were able to purchase the alarms for “a good price and have plenty for this campaign.”
The campaign, he said, also encourages residents to check their smoke alarms and “make sure they are working.”
He said many homes have older alarms that need to be replaced. He said 10-year-old alarms should replaced with newer-designed devices.
Church, civic and community groups interested in helping with the project can call Browning’s office at (225) 925-4911.
Ascension Sheriff Jeff Wiley said he supported the project and encouraged residents to register for the free devices by visiting the State Fire Marshal’s website.
Volunteer training will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Training Center in Gonzales and Feb. 27 in Donaldsonville, Fire Marshal Office Assistant Chief Bob Wolfe said.
Teams are set to install smoke alarms in homes across Ascension Parish on March 3 and March 16.
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