In light of a recent fire that claimed the lives of five young children and a man, Tiffin Firefighters Local 322 decided to team up with Tiffin City Schools and Seneca County Family and Children First Council to establish the Safe Homes for Families Fund Tiffin Chapter.
The chapter's goal is to provide smoke detectors to every family in need of them within the Tiffin City Schools. It hopes to meet that goal by daylight saving time in the spring.
"Even though in the more recent fire they did have working smoke detectors, it's an opportunity for us to do something to put smoke detectors in each house," said Rob Chappell, president of Tiffin Firefighters Local 322.
Chappell said the idea to form a Tiffin chapter was initiated by Brett Meyers, chief of Attica-Venice-Reed Fire District, who contacted him following the Sept. 15 fire at Highland Mobile Home Park that killed 25-year-old Timothy Fresch and children Tiara M. Angel, Stormie A. Huey, Trinitie B. Huey, Sunshine D. Huey and Domonic A. Fresch. Meyers initiated the Safe Homes for Families Fund in the Seneca East Local Schools following a house fire that killed a family of five last year.
"He implemented the program in Seneca East and it was very well perceived and had a high participation rate," Chappell said. "He asked if we would be interested here, and I said it was a no brainer."
To help the organization get started, the Attica chapter of Safe Homes for Families Fund has donated $1,000 and the State Fire Marshal's Office has donated 12 smoke detectors, Chappell said.
He said the Tiffin chapter hopes to place around 2,200 smoke detectors into homes throughout the district.
Sharon George, director of Family and Children First, is working with Tiffin Columbian Connections, a group of freshmen and sophomores, to help organize fundraising and distribution of smoke detectors. She meets with the students once a week.
The Safe Homes for Families Fund project helps fulfill the students' community service requirement, she said.
George said Meyers has spoken to the students about the Safe Homes for Families Fund in the Seneca East district and has helped guide them in replicating it.
Committees of students include one group that is collecting donations and another that is writing grants and contacting people and businesses. Another is looking at the challenges within the school for students to raise funds, while another is making plans to distribute the smoke detectors and make sure they are mounted.
"They're really breaking down the whole project and figuring out how to do the different aspects of a fundraiser," George said.
Chappell said the chapter is accepting donations at all Croghan Bank locations in the name of Safe Homes Tiffin Chapter c/o Tiffin Firefighter's Local 322. Donations may be delivered or mailed and checks should be made payable to: Safe Homes for Families Tiffin Chapter.