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Fire department seeks sponsors for special project

Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune
Pratt firefighters (from left) Capt. Todd Hoffman and Jason Leslie examine new smoke detectors for the fire department "Alarms From Angels" program that provides free smoke detectors and installation.

Out of tragedy came a legacy of safety. On Dec. 23, 2013, a house fire claimed the lives of 20-month-old twin boys Jayce and Jasper Ibarra. 

In their memory, the Pratt Fire Department started the “Alarms for Angels” program the placed smoke detectors, free of charge, in Pratt homes, said Justin Schwab, Pratt firefighter and program organizer. 

Over the past three years, the fire department has installed over 500 detectors in over 200 residences and all free of charge. They have also checked malfunctioning detectors due to batteries or have relocated detectors due to them being placed in bad locations such as kitchens or utility rooms, Schwab said. 

The program was designed to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. 

“Our main goal is for everyone in the City of Pratt to have working smoke alarms,” Schwab said. 

When the program started, the fire department partnered with the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s office who covered the cost of the detectors. 

But now, the fire marshal’s office budget for smoke detectors has been cut for the rest of 2020 and all of 2021 so they will not be able to provide funding for the detectors until at least 2022. 

So the fire department is conducting a mission to recruit local businesses to provide funds for the program for the next year and a half. 

A special banner has been created to help with the funding project. The banner is taken to fire department events to draw attention to the need for funding for this project that saves lives.

“Smoke alarms are the most effective tool we have to prevent deaths from fire but many Pratt residents don’t have working alarms in their homes,” Schwab said. “With your support, we will be able to reach more local residents than ever.”

The banner will be used during fire prevention talks at the schools. It has been used for presentations to service clubs and other organizations. Hopefully, the program will also be shared by word of mouth and more people will sign up to donate and keep the program functioning. Some businesses have already contributed funds to the program but more are needed. The response from the community was very positive and several businesses in town have helped provide smoke detectors. 

People have also called and asked the department to check the battery in their detector or to make sure the detector is located in the right place. 

Businesses can make financial contributions to the program or they can share the program with their customers. In return for their support, the business group organization logo will be placed on the new banner as a way to promote the business and show the company support and involvement in the campaign, Schwab said. 

For more information on the project, contact Schwab through the fire department at 620-672-4600 or email firepup@prattfiredept.com.