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OXFD, Eagle Scout team up to make 26 homes safer

November 23, 2011 - Residents in Oxford Township and Village have a better chance at surviving a fire thanks to the efforts of one local Boy Scout.

Bridger Smart of Troop 297, along with the Oxford Fire Department and a group of 25 volunteers, installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in approximately 26 homes of village and township residents on Saturday, Oct. 22 as part of Smart's Eagle Project.

"We put one smoke detector in each level of the home, at least," said Oxford Firefighter BJ Stapp. "And in some cases, depending on where the sleeping coordinates were, there might have been two at each level."

Volunteers broke into teams to cover the residences, which either had no smoke detectors, outdated smoke detectors or no carbon monoxide detectors.

The fire department and volunteers handed out approximately 20 carbon monoxide detectors. Stapp was not sure how many smoke detectors were handed out.

Overall, 57 adults, 34 children and 12 seniors were affected by this event.

Stapp said Smart approached the department about helping him complete his Eagle project.

"We've done the smoke detector blitz a couple of times in the past, so I thought it would be a good one for him to jump in and kind of organize," Stapp said. "I kind of presented it to him, and he had to go through the paperwork of the Boy Scout organization and have it approved."

According to Stapp, Smart planned the install routes, scheduled volunteers, ran the volunteer install education portion and coordinated with local businesses to donate lunch for the volunteers.

"He prepped the volunteers on what they needed to do and how to install them and where they needed to install them," Stapp said.

The smoke detectors were made available to the Oxford Fire Department through partnership with POH Regional Medical Center and the DMC Children's Hospital Fire/Burn Safety Education Program.

The detectors were supplied by funds from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kohl's department stores. The carbon monoxide detectors were made available through a donation from Kidde.

Every year a smoke detectors failure rate increases by three percent. If a smoke detector is 10 years old, it has a 30 percent failure rate, which is deemed unreliable and must be replaced.

Stapp said smoke detectors are the "cheapest life insurance policy you can get."

"Most people don't really think about it and keep it up to date and they don't realize when you are sleeping, you depend on it to wake you up because that fires doubles in size every minute," Stapp added. "The quicker you can be alerted and realize there is a problem, the quicker you can get out of the house, the safer you will be."

Stapp said it was also important to continually practice one's escape route in case the smoke detector goes off.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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