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Highland fire department in McCandless offering free smoke alarms

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Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 6:06 p.m.

This year during the Highland Volunteer Fire Department's annual Santa Tour, children will receive candy, and parents will get new smoke alarms for their homes, thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The department received a $91,600 grant that it will use to provide the smoke detectors for the 3,500 residences in its coverage area, McCandless officials said.

Highland's district extends north from the Ross-McCandless border to Arcadia Drive, west to the Franklin Park border and east to McKnight Road.

Residents of the district also can pick up smoke alarms, fire-safety checklists and educational brochures at an open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Highland fire station, 8705 Harold Place.

The department will offer help with installation if assistance is needed through next year.

Highland Deputy Chief Shawn O'Brien and firefighter Steve Wehrspann spearheaded the grant-application project because firefighters thought residents' greatest vulnerability for fires comes from a lack of smoke-alarm knowledge and a lack of attention to the devices' operation.

The smoke alarms being distributed are tamper-proof and need replacement batteries only once every 10 years. They also have a self-adhesive backing and require no intrusion into walls or ceilings.

For more information on how residents of Highland's district can receive a free smoke alarm, call the department at 412-366-3473.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or

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