DeRidder, Leesville fire departments join forces to spread word about "Operation Save A Life"

The DeRidder Fire Department and the Leesville Fire Department have joined forces on a program aimed at saving lives.

"Operation Save A Life" is a Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office program.

It assists residents who do not have working smoke alarms in their homes. Firefighters will install and tell you how to maintain up to two smoke alarms in your home, at no cost.

Leesville Fire Chief Dwaine Lawson explained how Leesville residents can take part.

"Just simply call the main station at 239-7950. Just simply give them your name, your address. We'll schedule a date and a time to install the smoke alarms. The guy from the fire department will simply arrive out there in a fire truck. They find the best place to install the alarms. They'll give you a little class as far as how the operation of the alarms goes. Even help you with a fire escape plan. Always have two routes out of your house at all times. Have a meeting place outside," he said.

DeRidder Fire Chief Ken Harlow said DeRidder residents can call 462-8929. Harlow described the best places residents can install alarms.

"Preferably, you want to definitely have one outside a sleeping area where there's a bedroom if you have bedrooms that are located on one end of a home, definitely somewhere outside those areas making sure you can be notified -- especially during night time hours if there's a fire that occurs you can safely get out of your home. Going through making sure detectors are working, making sure that the batteries are up-to-date. Making sure they are changed on a periodic basis and also, making sure they don't exceed the age limitations, which is usually seven to 10 years -- after that, a smoke detector needs to be replaced," Harlow said.

Rena Buxton, fire prevention officer for the DeRidder Fire Department, said an early warning system is vital to saving lives. She said according to the National Fire Protection Association, there are approximately 365,000 residential fires resulting in 2,500 deaths and approximately 13,000 injuries per year.
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