City of Saginaw MI -
Saginaw Fire Department Wins Safety Award for Carbon Monoxide Alarm Program

The Saginaw Fire Department has been awarded the 2018 Leland Gayheart Fire Safety and Prevention Award from the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center. Each year this award is presented to the fire department in the State of Michigan that has had an impact on prevention and fire safety their community. The award will be presented to the Saginaw Fire Department at the 2018 Fire Awards Ceremony to be held on October 9 at 10:00 am at Central Fire Station, 801 Federal.

The Saginaw Fire Department was encouraged to submit a nomination for the success of their recently completed carbon monoxide alarm installation program. The Fire Department’s campaign began in December 2017 and ran through August 2018. During this time, Saginaw Firefighters visited an average of 5 Saginaw homes per day. Each visit and installation provided fire crews the opportunity to interact with local residents and provide valuable fire and life safety education.

Since beginning the installations, the Fire Department responded to 8 carbon monoxide incidents that occurred in households that received free carbon monoxide alarms. In each incident, a CO alarm activated and alerted residents of a dangerous carbon monoxide situation, according to Fire Chief Chris Van Loo.

Chief Van Loo stated that receiving the award reinforces the collaborative efforts by the Fire Department to reach as many homes as possible. "The Saginaw Fire Department used partnerships with neighborhood associations, community groups, schools, and businesses to help identify homes in need of alarms. They also used social media networking to spread the word about the free alarm installations,” Van Loo said. “The success of our free CO alarm program and the receipt of this prestigious award is a testimony to the commitment and dedication of our firefighters who make Saginaw a safer community."

City Manager Tim Morales is very proud of this recognition and commented on the Fire Department’s thorough approach to meet with every home requesting an alarm. “This award is very significant, it took our program and put it on top of all the programs in the state. It shows the positive outcomes that transpire from strong partnerships,” said Morales.

Leland Gayheart was a 23-year old Lake Orion firefighter that lost his life due to adevastating burn injury in 1991. As a tribute, the Leland Gayheart Prevention Award was created to encourage prevention programs within local fire departments. A $500 honorarium is awarded annually to fire departments whose innovative efforts have demonstrated a statewide, countywide, or citywide impact on prevention and fire safety.

"Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when a fuel-burning appliance or machine, such as a furnace, heater, or generator, is not working or venting properly. Breathing in CO at high levels can be fatal" said Chief Van Loo. "Yet as this campaign revealed, a shockingly high number of homes were found to have non-functioning alarms or no alarm at all. We are very proud of this life-saving program."" Van Loo stated that the department will use the $500 award to assist with the cost of materials for upcoming community risk reduction programs in the Saginaw community.

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