West Pierce Awarded Grant Funding to Install 6,000 Smoke Alarms

West Pierce Fire & Rescue was recently awarded grant funding to create a revised version of the smoke alarm program that has been in place for more than ten years. While the previous smoke alarm program was also grant funded, this one differs in its approach to safety in the home.

In the past, West Pierce Fire & Rescue has targeted single-family dwellings within the fire district to install the smoke alarms. The new program will target pre-identified apartment complexes to ensure the safety of its residents. This program will not be available to residents on a request basis, as the parameters of the grant have already been established and targets specific locations.

This change in focus came as a result of extensive research which identified certain apartment complexes to be at a high risk of having significant fires. The 50 apartment complexes were chosen based on the following risk factors: the age of the building (older apartment complexes were not required to have smoke alarms in the sleeping areas when they were built), history of significant fires, and a higher than average call volume within the complex. The goal of this program is to install the alarms and be able to conduct an evaluation of its success.

This grant funding was awarded by FEMA through the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant. Not only does it provide money to purchase 6,000 smoke alarms and educational materials, it employs a temporary Smoke Alarm Coordinator to run the program and covers the cost of overtime incurred by WPFR personnel to complete the installations. This will ultimately save taxpayers more than $150,000.

WPFR’s new Smoke Alarm Coordinator will run the day-to-day operations of the program and is fluent in Spanish. This will provide assistance in homes where translation services may be needed. In addition, the Smoke Alarm Coordinator has already visited local preschool classrooms to help WPFR personnel translate safety lessons for students. This service has already determined to be extremely valuable to not only WPFR, but to the community.

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