The Springfield Fire Department’s efforts to make sure every home has working smoke detectors is wrapping up in Doling neighborhood and is preparing to move to Bissett neighborhood.
The Bissett neighborhood is bordered by West Bypass, Fulbright Avenue, Chestnut Expressway and Division Street.
“When I began the program in April 2017 the areas of our city that had the most incidents and injuries were shown on a map in red,” Chief David Pennington told OI. “We know that the best way to escape in a fire is early detection. From the moment a fire starts, you have three minutes to get out of your house, and that’s even if you’re asleep. The clock starts when the fire starts.”
The Project RED Zone program has installed over 2,500 smoke alarms in homes throughout the West Central, Grant Beach, Westside, Heart of the Westside, Robberson, Woodland Heights, Tom Watkins and Doling neighborhoods. They have also replaced batteries in hundreds of working smoke detectors that were already installed in neighborhood homes.
Project RED Zone has been credited with saving the lives of two people. In September 2017, a resident of West Central was alerted of a fire in a neighboring apartment when woken by that apartment’s smoke detector. The detector had been installed just two months earlier by Springfield firefighters.
Then in November 2018, another West Central apartment resident was alerted to a fire in the apartment below her by a detector installed the previous January by the fire department.
Project RED Zone is funded by donations from the American Red Cross of Southern Missouri, Safe Kids Springfield, FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety grants and Springfield Fire Department general funds designated for public education.
“It’s been a great program to allow the community to get to know their firefighters,” Chief Pennington said. “It’s also given us the opportunity to examine the layout of people’s homes and install smoke detectors in strategic locations to help them stay safe.”
While the program is currently focused on Bissett neighborhood, any Springfield resident who needs a smoke alarm or batteries for their smoke alarm and obtain them for free by calling the Fire Department at 417-864-2300.