Smoke alarm program wins service award

WARREN – The city’s Save A Life Smoke Alarm program has won recognition from the ServeOhio Awards program.

Warren Fire Lt. Chuck Eggleston, the driving force behind SALSA, and HandsOn Volunteer Network Coordinator Kristen Gallagher will accept one of six Serve Ohio Awards at a ceremony on October 22 in Columbus.

SALSA was created in the summer of 2012 in response to a rash of fires in Warren that took a heavy toll in lives, including those of several children.

Several fatal fires have occurred in the city including in June 2011 at 911 Landsdowne Ave., the site of a house fire in which six people died.

ALSA – initiative uses donations from individuals and businesses to adopt families to receive free smoke alarms, to be installed by community volunteers.

Eggleston said firefighters, members of Firefighters Local 204, realized that the most devastating fires often take place in the homes of low-income or elderly residents, and determined to place smoke alarms in the home of every low-income city residence inhabited by seniors or children.

Eggleston had said a common theme in such tragedies, where young children and senior citizens are among the victims, is the lack of a working smoke alarm.

Firefighters first identified the target homes, then solicited donations from individuals, businesses and organizations to purchase the smoke alarms. HOVN volunteers installed the first group of units this summer.

Last summer, volunteers spent a day installing tamper-resistant smoke alarms that contain a power cell that will operate the detector for up to 10 years. The volunteers underwent installation training to help.

Applicants were chosen based on fire fatality statistics and need.