Southeast offers free smoke detectors

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, October 13, 2011

Residents of the Southeast Volunteer Fire Department district may soon receive letters about free smoke detectors.

Fire Chief Mark McCormick said the department has access to a large supply of smoke detectors through the Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s Office. The smoke detectors come equipped with a ten-year lithium battery and will be installed free of charge for residents who meet a list of requirements.

McCormick said the program is looking for residents who are disabled, elderly or have small children in their homes. The department will use a $2,000 donation from State Farm Insurance to help get the smoke detectors installed and spread the word. The donation was presented to the department Wednesday afternoon. That donation will be used to advertise the program through mail outs and other avenues throughout the fire district.

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Residents in the Mt. Carmel, Caesar, Salem and Caesar Road communities and homes along Mississippi Highway 43 South from Picayune’s city limits to the Hancock County line are eligible to apply. McCormick said volunteer firefighters will stop by homes to conduct an assessment, including living space, existing smoke detectors and the number of occupants.

McCormick said the volunteers will also look for other safety hazards around the home during the assessment and provide advice to make each home safer, such as marking the home with an address that is visible from the road.

“Just trying to find them (homes) is half the battle,” McCormick said.

Smoke detectors typically have a life span of 10 years, McCormick said. Since this month is Fire Prevention month, it’s also a good time to check or replace smoke detectors in the home.

The department has installed 287 of the smoke detectors just from people hearing of the alarms by word of mouth, McCormick said. There are 2,500 homes in the district.

Anyone wishing to apply for the smoke detectors can do so by emailing McCormick at or by leaving a message by calling 601-889-9536.