Tennessee takes aim at deadly ranking

10:47 am | November 29, 2012

A state initiative to lower Tennessee’s residential fire death rate kicked off Tuesday at the Elizabethton Fire Department where local firefighters received delivery of hundreds of smoke detectors.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Elizabethton Firefighter William Shoun installs one of the free smoke detectors provided by the state Fire Marshal’s office while resident Joyce Vinney looks on.


The campaign by the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s office to install 20,000 smoke detectors bought with a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant targets areas considered at higher risk of fatal home fires.

“We’re hoping to reduce the number of deaths from fires by having working smoke detectors correctly installed in homes in areas that have the highest risk for fatalities,” Claire Marsalis, a community risk coordinator with the Fire Marshal’s office, said Tuesday. “In many areas of the state, non-functioning smoke detectors have contributed to the death rate.”

Areas were chosen using social, economic and housing variables defined by a University of Tennessee study.

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