Springfield, Mo. -- (11/17/2017) Springfield firefighters are continuing their efforts to ensure every Springfield family has adequate warning in case of a fire. Since April, firefighters have visited nearly every home in West Central, Grant Beach and Robberson neighborhoods, testing 2,121 smoke alarms, installing 1,077 new alarms and changing 315 batteries. It’s part of an effort called Project RED Zone. The ultimate goal is to reduce fires and prevent fire deaths. Fire crews will move on to a new phase this weekend in another Springfield neighborhood with a high fire risk. On Saturday, crews will begin visiting homes in Heart of the Westside 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 and Deliver. It is part of SFD’s Community Risk Reduction program, otherwise known as CRR. 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 Heart of the Westside, another area which has an extremely high fire risk. In 2016, there were 18 fires in Heart of the Westside - 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.
Project RED Zone is funded with the help of donations from the American Red Cross of Southern Missouri and Safe Kids Springfield 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 continue 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.
(Edited Media Release)