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Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Monday, October 4, 2010

(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office


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Des Moines, IOWA --- Nearly one in five fire fatalities in the State of Iowa is a child. It's time to start protecting our most precious resources - our children - from devastating effects of home fires. As the one hundred year anniversary of the Office of the State Fire Marshal approaches, the Iowa Fire Service is joining forces to measure the need for smoke detectors in the homes of Iowa school children.

At a press conference today, State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds announced the 100 years, 100% Campaign. "Beginning this month and continuing through the fall with parent-teacher conferences, your local fire departments are going to work with schools to conduct surveys of Iowa families. We want to find out just how many school children need smoke detectors in their homes and find solutions to get 100% of them covered." Detector Press Conference

So far this year Iowa has seen 15 fire fatalities. Sadly, four of those fatalities were children. When taking a broader view of the picture of home fires in Iowa, it's clear the problem and the solution lie with smoke detectors. There were no working smoke detectors in a shocking 84% of home fires that resulted in a fatality over the last 5 years in Iowa. On the other hand, this year alone, the State Fire Marshal has anecdotally tracked 113 lives saved by working smoke detectors.

Fire Chief Rex Mundt said, "We know in the fire service that accidents happen and some fires aren't preventable. But we believe that fire fatalities are. That's why fire chiefs all across the state are making the time commitment to work with schools and collect this information. I encourage parents to do their part. Fill out the survey and take time to put smoke detectors in your home."

Detector Press Conference In addition to the State Fire Marshal and Fire Service Organizations across the state, the State Department of Education has been a significant partner in this effort, encouraging school districts across Iowa to participate. Education Program Consultant Gary Schwartz said of the project, "Everyone knows school districts are spread a little thin these days, but many schools are stepping forward to participate because education officials know prevention works! The last thing teachers want is for their students to suffer emotionally or developmentally because they lost a classmate in a house fire."

As firefighters and school officials have been working to launch the "100 Years, 100% Campaign", several generous companies have stepped forward to partner with us on this initiative. As we look toward covering 100% of Iowa school children with smoke detectors, we are eager to work with:

  • Casey's General Stores, Incorporated
  • Kidde US
  • Energizer Battery Company
  • Home Builders Association of Iowa
  • Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
  • Iowa Association of Building Code Officials (IABO)
  • American Red Cross
  • University of Iowa Health Care

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