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Program offers free smoke alarms to county residents

Free smoke alarms are available to some Mathews County residents, thanks to a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters grant from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs.

Mathews Volunteer Fire Department president Calvin Morgan said the county received 168 smoke alarms under the grant program and must install them free of charge, in residential homes that are not renter-occupied, by April 30.

Targeted households include those with children under the age of five, adults over the age of 65, or disabled residents, said Morgan. Homes in which the residents are at or below poverty level are in the target group as well.

At least one adult in each household that receives the alarms will need to be educated on how to maintain them, said Morgan. In addition, he or she will need to answer some brief survey questions and sign a form.

The smoke alarms are tamper-proof, and the alarm and the battery both have 10-year warranties, so the battery never needs changing, he said. Firefighters have be...

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