Smoke alarms save lives

Here in Mississippi we hold a record that we would rather not have. In 2008 seventy-eight Mississippians lost their lives due to a fire in their home. Countless others were injured in those same fires. Unfortunately we in Mississippi, for the past number of years, have led the nation or ranked nearly at the top in fire deaths.

This does not have to happen. There are ways to prevent deaths in fires. One of the best ways is to have a smoke alarm. Fire officials in Jackson County tell us twenty percent of the residents of that county do not have a smoke alarm. For those who do have an alarm, officials say up to fifty percent of those do not work because of a dead battery or other malfunction.

Fire departments across our state are attempting to reverse this trend. Through a federal grant these departments are taking applications to place a smoke detector in homes where residents might not be able to afford one, or in homes where there are young children or older adults. All you have to do is call your local fire department and see if it is taking part in the program.

Also we all need to take time to check our smoke alarms at least twice a year and make sure they are working. Our goal is to never have to report on a fire death again in South Mississippi.

That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to, or post your comments below.

David Vincent
WLOX-TV Station Manager