$100k grant to provide some alarms, fire prevention education to elderly

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJune 29, 2013 

An increased campaign to make sure that senior citizens have working smoke detectors in their homes will soon begin in San Luis Obispo.

The city received a $101,536 grant from FEMA and the U.S. Fire Administration to provide fire prevention education and install smoke alarms in the homes of residents who are 60 years of age or older.

The new program will also provide visual smoke alarms for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The city sought the grant last year after a number of residential fires ended in fatalities.
“In my first year here, we had three fatality fires and two of those who died were elderly,” Fire Chief Charlie Hines said. “They didn’t have working smoke detectors and that’s when we decided we needed to get some money to help.”

In February 2011, Roy Jones, 100, died in a house fire that erupted in his kitchen in his home in southern San Luis Obispo. One year later, in January 2012, Barbara Beck, 79, died after a fire broke out at her home in a Bishop Peak neighborhood.

The grant will fund a part-time program coordinator who will do outreach at senior centers and other gatherings to make seniors aware of the program.

The fire prevention grant was created under the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

“This is important federal funding that will make a difference in keeping the citizens of San Luis Obispo safe,” said Rep. Lois Capps, in a press release announcing the grant. “Older adults, along with Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing, are some of the highest fire-risk groups in the country. Encouraging the use of these life-saving technologies will help ensure that individuals can live independently and safely.”

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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