VINTON–The Vinton Professional Fire Fighter’s and Paramedic’s Association is partnering with the Vinton Breakfast Lions Club to provide free smoke alarms to any resident of Vinton and East Roanoke County in need of one.
Corey Gee, the president of the non-profit association, is a career Firefighter/Medic with the Vinton Fire Department. His group raises funds each year to buy the smoke alarms and fire extinguishers by selling gallons and gallons (50-60) of hot chocolate from the Vinton Motors property during the Vinton Christmas Parade. Gee said he and his wife prepare the hot chocolate as much as they can ahead of time and heat it onsite during the parade.
The association is funded by dues from its members and the hot cocoa sale. Their sole purpose is to serve the community and improve public safety.
Statistics prove that smoke alarms save lives. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Chris McCarty is the president of the Breakfast Lions. When they heard about the project, the Lions offered to purchase 30 of the smoke alarms, which will allow the Firefighter’s Association to instead buy fire extinguishers to distribute to the public. Gee said that batteries to keep the smoke alarms functioning are another concern. He and the Lions will be discussing that project as well.
The smoke detectors are free of charge.
“All the citizens have to do is come down to the Vinton Fire Station Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” said Gee. “To request a smoke detector for your home, please contact the Vinton Volunteer Fire Department at (540) 983-0629.”
Gee is a 2000 graduate of William Byrd High School and has worked as a career firefighter at the Vinton station for 13 years. He worked as a volunteer for the fire department for a year and a half before that.
The Vinton Breakfast Lions are well-known for their generosity in funding countless projects to benefit the community at large and children in particular. They hold numerous fundraisers throughout the year including the annual Spaghetti Dinner prior to the Christmas parade and the Pancake Breakfast at the Vinton Fall Festival.
“When we hear about a worthy cause, we try to donate to it,” said McCarty.