NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Country Music star and former first responder Craig Morgan joined representatives of Kidde Fire Safety, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire safety advocate and multi-faceted entertainer Kix Brooks and national and state fire leaders to issue a call for support of U.S. volunteer fire departments. The U.S. has more than 30,000 fire departments, and 85 percent of them are staffed solely or mainly by volunteer firefighters. These men and women protect more than 60 percent of Americans, particularly in rural communities, however, volunteers have steadily declined. Kidde, a leading manufacturer of residential fire safety products, is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
The initiative recognizes current volunteers and encourages civilians to learn how they can assist their local department. The campaign will also help increase fire safety, as Kidde will donate 1,000 Worry-Free smoke alarms to select fire departments along Morgan's 2016 tour. The NFPA reports three out of five fatal home fires occur in homes with either no smoke alarm or no working alarm; dead or missing batteries is the main reason for alarm failure in a fire. Kidde Worry-Free alarms contain a sealed-in lithium battery that provides nonstop power for 10 years, eliminating battery replacement. Working smoke alarms help protect families and help reduce the risks to responding firefighters.
"Living in Dickson County, Tennessee, I see every day how committed these men and women are to their communities. As a former first responder, I want to continue to do what I can to help keep families safe. That means making sure our volunteer fire departments have the support they need," said Morgan. In 2011, the Country Music star used his EMT training and rescued two children from a burning house in Tennessee.
Most fire departments act as the first line of defense in an emergency and provide emergency medical services. The volunteers dedicate significant training hours to ensure they are prepared, often at their own expense.
"Being a volunteer firefighter is a great American tradition dating back to the colonial days," said Chief Shane Crutcher, Rineyville Volunteer Fire Department in Kentucky, and vice chair of IAFC's Volunteer and Combination Chiefs Section. "As budgets get tighter and the cost of firefighting increases, we need community volunteers to step up. Whether that's as a firefighter or helping in the office, we hope this program will generate new interest from good citizens looking to serve their community."
The NFPA and IAFC will host open houses at select volunteer fire departments along Morgan's tour, and Firehouse will host an online program that enables the public to vote for nominated volunteers. The winning volunteers' departments will receive training materials, funding and Kidde smoke alarms for community installation programs. The program will launch in 2016.
"Kidde's mission is to help save lives, and we are pleased to work with Craig and the other campaign leaders," said Chris Rovenstine, vice-president, sales and marketing, Kidde. "This program goes beyond reminding families about fire safety; it empowers them to help serve others. Working together, we can help make our communities safer."
Wednesday's announcement at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum follows the launch of Kidde's new ad featuring the Black River Entertainment recording artist, Craig Morgan, the Dickson, Tennessee fire department, and Kidde's RemoteLync™ products. The commercial will air during tonight's broadcast of "The 49th Annual CMA Awards" on ABC television stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh, Fresno and Nashville. This is Kidde's fourth year as a local sponsor.
Kix Brooks, three-time 2013 CMA National Broadcast Personality of the Year and a radio spokesman for Kidde; Chief Ronald Siarnicki, executive director of National Fallen Firefighters Foundation; Tennessee State Fire Marshal Gary West; Chief Tom Jenkins of Rogers, Arkansas Fire Dept. and 2nd vice-president of IAFC; Firehouse editor-in-chief Tim Sendelbach and NFPA's regional director, Randy Safer, also attended Wednesday's announcement.
To learn more, visit www.kidde.com.
Kidde is a leading manufacturer of residential smoke alarms, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and fire extinguishers, and has been delivering advanced fire-safety technology since it produced the first integrated smoke detection and carbon dioxide extinguishing system nearly 100 years ago. Kidde is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. For more information, visit www.kidde.com or follow @KiddeSafety on Twitter.