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November 6, 2006

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is planning to install 8,000 smoke alarms in First Nations households in Arizona through the fall.

Funded by a Fire Prevention and Safety Grant from the Department of Homeland Security, the initiative will reach 2,000 households in the Navajo and Hopi Nations that would otherwise be unprotected from the consequences of fire.

In addition to smoke alarms, program participants will be educated on escape planning and fire prevention, including materials from the “First Nations Remembering When Program, A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults,” developed by the NFPA Center for High-Risk Outreach.

According to NFPA studies, smoke alarms reduce the risk of death by 40 percent to 50 percent if home fires occur. NFPA and its Center for High-Risk outreach have been working on fire prevention and safety programs with Native American communities for more than a decade. Installers working on a similar smoke alarm project in 2005 discovered that most households did not have smoke alarms.

In partnership with the Navajo Nation and Hopi Nation Fire Departments, NFPA conducted initial training of 50 Navajo firefighters and community workers at the Navajo Museum in Window Rock, Arizona in August.

Alarm installation began in September and will and continue through March 2007.

“Quite simply, this effort will save lives, reduce injuries and lessen the incidence of property loss in Navajo and Hopi Nations,” said Larry Chee, chief of Navajo Nation Fire and Rescue Services. “We know from experience that the training program, smoke alarm installation and educational materials provided will make people safer from fire in their homes.”

As part of the project, information will be made available for use by all Native Americans through Web based educational materials, including a smoke alarm model.

NFPA has been providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896 as part of its mission to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life.

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