Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services will receive a $62,520 firefighter assistance grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Gwinnett County commissioners recently voted to accept the money, which is administered through the Georgia Department of Homeland Security. With the money, Gwinnett Fire and Emergency Services will provide about 4,000 long-life smoke detectors to elderly and needy residents.
The smoke detectors will go to Gwinnett residents in 10 communities in high call volume areas based on incident reports and a needs assessment. With community partners and volunteers, fire safety educators will conduct door-to-door visits in targeted areas to raise awareness of fire hazards, install smoke alarms where needed and follow up to make sure proper fire safety practices have been implemented.
“These grants will help us proactively save lives and protect property in our community,” Gwinnett Fire Chief Casey Snyder said in a statement. “We want residents to learn safety measures and interact with firefighters on a non-emergency basis.”
Gwinnett responds to an average of 640 residential fires a year and had 12 related deaths in the last two years. There have been eight fires recently in two manufactured home communities where 40 percent of the residents are fixed-income seniors and 98 percent of the homes have no working smoke detectors.
Snyder said working smoke alarms can increase the survivability of a home fire by giving occupants an early warning and added escape time.