SFMO Awarded FEMA Grant to Continue Life-Saving “Get Alarmed” Initiative

Thursday, August 24, 2017 | 10:05am

NASHVILLE –The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance proudly announces the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) will receive a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Fire Prevention and Safety Grant totaling $266,667 to continue its life-saving “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” program into 2018.

Originally funded with a similar FEMA grant in November 2012 to combat Tennessee’s elevated fire fatality rate, the SFMO’s “Get Alarmed” program distributes fire prevention education and 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms to partnering fire departments and community organizations. Those fire service partners then install smoke alarms in at-risk homes in their communities across the state. “Get Alarmed” is credited with alerting at least 190 Tennesseans to fire dangers in their homes.

“This $260,000 federal grant for Tennessee's ‘Get Alarmed’ program will help keep Tennesseans safer by providing better fire safety education and distributing smoke alarms in homes across our state,” said U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, (R- Tenn.).

Since its inception, the “Get Alarmed” program has distributed over 150,000 smoke alarms statewide to 506 local partnering agencies. Currently, 195 homes per week receive alarms as part of the program. Once one of the top 10 states for fire fatalities, Tennessee has now moved outside the top 10 according to new calculations from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) due at least in part because of the increased installation and awareness of smoke alarms.

“The ‘Get Alarmed’ program is a pivotal part of our ongoing commitment to protect Tennessee lives and property from fire danger,” said State Fire Marshal and TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “FEMA funds helped us start the program, and this latest grant receipt will allow us to sustain this important initiative and continue to spread our fire prevention resources across the Volunteer State throughout 2018, especially in areas at highest risk for fire.”

The SFMO has focused on lowering Tennessee’s fire fatality rate by strengthening partnerships with local fire departments, fine-tuning community risk reduction processes, and increasing availability of fire safety education and working smoke alarms for Tennessee residents. Mapping technology plays a key part in the program by allowing the SFMO to track where new alarms are installed and demonstrate the program’s effectiveness to federal, state, and local stakeholders.

“By comparing where our ‘Get Alarmed’ smoke alarms are installed against fire incident reports, we can track the program’s success and effectiveness,” TDCI Deputy Commissioner Gary West said.  “Having this type of data allows us to show our federal partners how the grant funds are being maximized in Tennessee. We are appreciative of all our partners helping make Tennessee safer.”

To learn more about fire safety and the State Fire Marshal’s Office, visit tn.gov/fire. Tennesseans in need of a smoke alarm can utilize the SFMO’s online alarm request form.

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Commerce & Insurance