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FOR RELEASE: August 23, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Ponca City Firefighters Give Away Smoke Alarms to Save Lives

Ponca City firefighters are giving away smoke alarms in an effort to reduce the number of fire-related injuries and deaths in their area. The smoke alarms are provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and Kay County Health Department as part of a community smoke alarm distribution program. The program urges residents to make sure their homes have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of their home.

Since April, Ponca City firefighters and community volunteers have distributed more than 1,100 smoke alarms door-to-door in neighborhoods that were at high-risk for house fire-related injury. Before starting this fire prevention program, Ponca City had the fourth highest annual house fire-related death and injury rate in Oklahoma.

“We expect this program will result in a dramatic reduction of deaths and injuries from house fires in Ponca City,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Leslie Beitsch. “Research has shown that for every dollar spent on a program such as this, three dollars are saved in medical, ambulance and fire department costs.”

The program is funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is modeled after a smoke alarm giveaway in Oklahoma City that resulted in an 80 percent reduction of injuries and deaths resulting from home fires in 1990.

“This is a great example of how local, state and federal partnerships can help improve the public's health and safety. I want to congratulate Chief Gary Denny and the Ponca City Fire Department for their commitment and leadership in this project. I hope we will begin to see more partnership efforts in other communities,” Beitsch said.

If you live in the Ponca City area and need a free smoke alarm installed in your home, call the Ponca City Fire Department at (580) 767-6831.

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