The Springfield Fire Department (SFD) hopes to reduce fires and fire deaths with the launch of a new campaign called Project RED Zone, which is part of SFD’s Community Risk Reduction (CRR) program. Project RED Zone – a reference to the red areas on the Springfield Fire Department’s map of fire incidents – stands for Reduce, Educate, Deliver.
Data shows 42% of all Springfield homes in which a fire occurred in 2016 had no working smoke alarms and two-thirds of all Springfield homes don’t have enough smoke alarms to adequately protect the occupants.
SFD recommends smoke alarms be installed on every level of the home, outside each sleeping area and in every bedroom.
“Community Risk Reduction is about prioritizing our risks as a community and working together to invest the time and resources necessary to reduce them,” said Fire Chief David Pennington.
The multifaceted campaign began in spring 2017 with a project to ensure every home in Zone 1 – the area of the City with the highest fire risk – has working smoke alarms. While Project RED Zone canvasses are currently paused due to the pandemic, Springfield firefighters have installed 3,620 smoke alarms in area neighborhoods as a component of Project RED Zone, an initiative that began in 2017. They have visited 24,634 homes in the Rountree, Delaware, West Central, Grant Beach, Westside, Heart of the Westside, Robberson, Woodland Heights, Tom Watkins, Doling, Midtown, Bissett, Weller, and Oak Grove neighborhoods as well as areas without organized neighborhood associations. In addition to the 3,600-plus installed alarms, firefighters have tested more than 6,800 alarms to ensure they are functioning properly and have replaced over 970 batteries in existing alarms as a part of the project.
“Now approaching year 3 of Project RED Zone, we are starting the see the positive effects of these canvasses, and our efforts to make Springfield a fire safe community” said Fire Chief David Pennington in early 2020. “We have responded to several house fires now in which the occupants of the home have safely escaped because of a working smoke alarm that we installed for them.”
The project is funded with the help of grant dollars through FEMA’s Fire Prevention and Safety Grant and general revenue SFD funds designated for public education. If successful and if funding is available for additional alarms and batteries, the department hopes to expand the program to other parts of the city.
As always, the Fire Department offers free smoke alarms and batteries to anyone in need. To obtain a free alarm, call 874-2300.