SPRINGFIELD, Mo — A smoke alarm in every Springfield home.
That's the goal of the Springfield Fire Department this year; it's applying for a grant to boost funding for its free smoke detector program.
In a push to get more homes equipped with the life-saving devices, firefighters will install more the double the number they did last year.
"This is so important to us as a department and as a community, we need to install 1,100 of those during 2011," explained fire chief David Hall, of the Springfield Fire Department.
And the alarms are needed in the area.
According to a study conducted by Chief Hall and the department, over a 6-year period, more than 90% of all fatal fires in Springfield were in homes without working smoke alarms.
"There was only one instance," said Hall, "where we know that a death occurred and there was a working smoke alarm."
Chief Hall said fire-related deaths are all too often tied to socio-economic status.
Often times, people with lower incomes can't afford a smoke alarm. At the same time, their homes can be more susceptible to fires because they often use alternative heating sources such as space heaters or wood.
"There should not be a matter of cost to an individual saying I just can't afford it. We'll come out, we'll put it up, we'll put the battery in it," said Hall.
To make sure every home has an alarm, firefighters will be picking neighborhoods and going door-to-door seeing if people need one.
And when they go out on routine emergency calls, they will ask homeowners if they need a smoke alarm.
Anyone in Springfield can also call the department at 864-1515 to request the device.
The firefighters are doing it because they know that blaring noise can make all the difference.
"A working smoke alarm saves lives and property," said Hall.