Firefighters receive grant for detectors
Tonganoxie firefighters plan to reach out to the community next week.
During Fire Prevention Week -- which runs Monday through Oct. 11 -- firefighters and fire auxiliary members will be going door-to-door trying to determine the need for smoke detectors in Tonganoxie homes. The department has secured a state grant to purchase and install about 350 smoke detectors.
- The Tonganoxie City Fire Department and its auxiliary will host a pancake feed from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 11 at the fire station, 825 E. Fourth.
- Proceeds from the pancake feed will benefit the work of the auxiliary, which provides drinks and food to firefighters when they're fighting fires, as well as aid to fire victims.
- An open house at the station also is planned that day, until 5 p.m. A 911 simulator -- which allows children to practice making an emergency call -- will be available during the open house.
- Although firefighters won't be able to install smoke detectors for several weeks, anyone who is interested in having one at their home is asked to call the station, (913) 845-9494.
"It's great," firefighter John Callaghan said on Friday, after learning the department's grant application had been approved by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
"It will probably be a month before we get the actual grant."
Callaghan said he's hopeful that the grant also will finance the purchase and installation of detectors for hearing-impaired people.
To start collecting information on who might need a smoke detector in Tonganoxie, the department's 30 firefighters and 15 members of the firefighters' auxiliary plan to go door-to-door next week, which is Fire Prevention Week.
"We'll be getting right out there amongst everybody," Callaghan said, adding that firefighters also will distribute information about fire safety to local residents.
David Bennett, fire chief, said the need for smoke detectors locally was underscored during the past year.
"This year, we had two structure fires in homes that had no working smoke detectors," Bennett said. "It really drives the point home to us when they're not working or the battery's been unplugged or the cat woke them up."
In addition to its smoke-detector project, the department's members plan to begin a Senior Assist Program. Any elderly resident may call the fire department, and firefighters will visit the resident's home and check on the well-being of the resident. That check could range from inspecting smoke detectors to performing blood-pressure checks to removing flammables from the resident's home.
In addition, firefighters and auxiliary members encourage local residents of all ages to ensure their house numbers easily can be read from the street.
"If they can't find your number, it's hard to get to you," said auxiliary member Leanne Peel.
"Especially in the dark," Callaghan added. "It's so difficult in the dark."
"Ten years ago, it really wasn't a big deal," Bennett said. "You knew everybody."
Callaghan suggests that trees or shrubs not obstruct firefighters' view of house numbers.
"The numbers need to be about as big as they can stand, right near their front door," he said.
And he and Bennett said that house numbers painted on curbs don't do much good for firefighters, particularly if it's snowed or cars are parked in front of those numbers.
Firefighters also want to reach young members of the community, so they will be visiting with local school children next week. The theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week is "Get Out, Stay Out," encouraging people to leave a burning structure quickly and not returning to retrieve items.
"That means don't go in for your dog, don't go in for your baby doll," Callaghan said.