NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Fire chief Jim Parrish is taking home fire prevention personally.  Parrish says he’s raising money to purchase smoke detectors for each of the city’s 8,000 households. He says most fire-related fatalities are caused by smoke inhalation, and 40-percent of American homes do not have a working detector to prevent it.

“Smoke detectors save lives. You’ve heard that adage again and again and again, and it’s just true; that’s just all there is to it. And you’d be surprised how many homes we go into that either don’t have a smoke detector or the smoke detector isn’t functioning because it doesn’t have a battery.”

Parrish says the department can purchase smoke detectors for around five-dollars a piece. Currently, the purchasing fund has roughly $6,000 in it, and Parrish says they plan to start handing out smoke detectors as soon as he can get them. 

“Our game plan is to get out there and make sure every house has at least one operating smoke detector. On top of that, if an individual is incapable of installing that smoke detector, we’ll install it for them. . . We can’t --obviously-- do this all at one time. But we’re going to focus on February, which is Fire Prevention Month.”

Parrish says he plans to distribute them throughout the community sections at a time, and he hands out free smoke detectors to every kindergartner in the New Philadelphia school system.

Donations for the New Philadelphia Fire Department Smoke Detector Program are being accepted at the fire department.