Choctaw Fire Department, Red Cross give out smoke alarms

Choctaw Fire Department, Red Cross give out smoke alarms


Smoke detectors save lives and the Choctaw Fire Department has joined forces with the American Red Cross to educate Tribal families about the danger of smoke and house fires.

The collaborative Sound the Alarm initiative began on Jan. 19, focusing on raising awareness about smoke detectors and providing free installation in homes across the Pearl River community.

"So far, it’s been going really well,” said CFD Liaison Officer Marco Patrick. People are calling, letting us into their homes, and are genuinely receptive to this initiative.”

Sixty-three complimentary smoke alarms have so far been installed in 43 Tribal homes, while simultaneously educating 136 individuals about the importance of having working smoke detectors, officials said. 

The Choctaw Fire Department currently maintains an inventory of 150 smoke detectors, with the option of getting more from the American Red Cross. 

There’s been an uptick in calls from homeowners seeking smoke detector installations, officials said.

"If you’re not educated on smoke detectors, then it’s not doing any good,” Patrick said. “It’s been proven time and time again that smoke detectors save lives. It’s very important to know how to keep them updated and tested and also knowing how to change the batteries.”

Officials recommend monthly testing and replacement every 10 years for smoke alarms. After each installation, these alarms undergo thorough testing to ensure they are working correctly. 

Smoke detectors also need to be placed in every sleeping area and on every level of a home, and if they are found to be malfunctioning, they need to be replaced promptly, officials said.

"The goal for fire prevention and life safety education is to encourage all tribal members and communities to have working smoke detectors," Patrick said.

CFD plans to explore the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in homes and open discussions about fire extinguishers.

While the fire department doesn't supply fire extinguishers, Patrick said that they can recharge used ones depending on the type and model. 

For more information, Tribal community homeowners seeking free smoke detectors can arrange appointments with Patrick by calling (601) 656-0620 or emailing

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