By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
An Oxford Fire Department program to pass out fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms received $5,000 from North Oakland Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 334.
Presented by Post Commander Jim Hubbard and Quartermaster Chuck Haskin to Lt. B.J. Frantz on Thursday, March 10, the $5,000 adds to the growing list of donations made to the fire department’s upcoming “Safety Begins at Home” initiative.
“Safety Begins at Home” will have the Oxford Fire Department going door to door inspecting the fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms of Oxford community residents and installing new alarms for free if there are none or if the current alarms are not working. The initiative specializes in seniors, residents with disabilities and low-income earners, though the program is open to everyone in Oxford Township and the Village of Oxford.
“Michigan started a campaign about two, three years ago,” Frantz said. “They wanted to canvas [to] make sure everybody in the state has smoke alarms in their house. Oxford, about 10 years ago, did what we called a ‘smoke alarm blitz’ where we handed out 200-300 to various residents around here.”
Frantz said alarms last about 10 years, so the old alarms have likely expired and new ones need to be installed.
“This will go a long way in helping us purchase those fire alarms,” Frantz said.
Frantz is working with C.J. Carnacchio, Oxford Township communications and grants manager, to secure grant funding for the initiative from the Four County Community Foundation (4CCF). One detail the 4CCF is looking for from applicants is community support for projects, and so far local businesses and organizations have donated $7,700 to “Safety Begins at Home.” Aside from VFW 334’s donation, Curtis Insurance Agency donated $1,000, Counelis Farm Bureau Agency donated $500, the Oxford Rotary Club donated $500, VTC/Oxford Insurance Agency donated $450 and the Oxford Lions Club donated $250.
The grant paperwork is due April 1 and the program is slated to begin in mid-May with or without the 4CCF’s funding, though Carnacchio says the funding would help make the program more complete.
“I have a very good feeling about the grant application,” Carnacchio said.
VFW 334 has helped fundraise for the fire department in the past, donating $4,000 to purchase laryngoscopes — devices used to see into and prop the windpipe open — for each of the department’s ambulances. The post also delivered honors from the national VFW to the fire department last month in recognition of its actions on Nov. 30.
By Dean Vaglia