Springfield firefighters have recently visited every home (2300) in Springfield’s West Central neighborhood, testing 775 smoke alarms, installing 371 new alarms and changing 122 batteries. It’s part of an effort called Project RED Zone, an effort to ensure that every Springfield family has adequate warning in case of a fire. The ultimate goal is to prevent fire deaths. Fire crews will move on to phase two this weekend in another Springfield neighborhood with a high fire risk.
On Saturday, June 23, crews will begin visiting homes in Grant Beach neighborhood, testing smoke alarms and installing new ones where needed at no charge.
Project RED Zone – a reference to the red areas on the Springfield Fire Department’s map of fire incidents – stands for Reduce, Educate, Deliver. It is part of SFD’s Community Risk Reduction (CRR) program. The multifaceted campaign, which is part of the Zone Blitz, aims to ensure every home in Zone 1 – the area of the City with the highest fire risk – has working smoke alarms.
Every Saturday for as long as it takes to complete the project, fire crews will canvass Zone 1 knocking on doors, offering to test smoke alarms and installing new alarms or provide batteries if needed at no charge. The department is continuing its campaign in Grant Beach neighborhood, another area which has an extremely high fire risk. In 2016, there were 44 fires in Grant Beach – among the highest of Springfield’s neighborhoods.
Springfield’s fire death rate is among the highest in the United States. In fact, it’s nearly triple the national average. In 2016, Springfield experienced five fire deaths. This is the equivalent of nearly 30 fire deaths per one million people. The national average is just over 10. Working smoke alarms doubles your chances of surviving a fire, yet data shows most Springfield homes are not adequately protected by smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, in each bedroom and outside each sleeping area.
The department expects the entire project to take around one year to complete and 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. The American Red Cross also generously donated 300 smoke alarms to the campaign. 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.