The Culpeper County Volunteer Fire Department Co. 1 is partnering with Lowe’s and the Department of Human Services to make sure the community of Culpeper has working smoke detectors.
According to Steve Corbin, President of CCVFD Co. 1, Lowe’s reached out to the department with an offer of installing 800 free smoke detectors for homes in Culpeper that need them.
“We came up with an application, working through Human Services and Sarah Berry, they are distributing them,” Corbin said. “They are open to any individual who does not have working smoke detectors.”
Corbin said residents can fill out applications and start scheduling times to install the smoke detectors. At the moment, they have approximately 15-20 applications filled out and will start scheduling when they have about 25. Corbin said that could be as soon as this week.
“The most difficult part is to let them know it’s here and it’s free,” Corbin said. “That’s what we’re having a hard time, reaching out to them and telling them ‘here it is.’”
The project came about following a fatal fire at 210 Wolford Street Oct. 26, 2016. That fire claimed the lives of Ismelda Elizabeth Garcia Mena, 35, and her 4-year-old daughter Genesis Cadisha Rivera Garcia.
“That was a rental property, we don’t care if it’s a rental property or if they own it,” Corbin said. “We just want to make sure they have them and they are working.”
Corbin said Lowe’s of Culpeper reached out to them recently and said other stores have participated in programs such as this one.
“This is the first time, this is a new project for us,” Corbin said. “This is all about giving back to the community. Granted we are all volunteer and there is no paid staff, but we are giving back to the community. They (Lowe’s) wanted to help the community also.”
Corbin said there are many times when the fire department responds to a call that a home does not have a smoke detector or if they do have one, it is not working properly. Many times, he said people will take batteries out of the smoke detector because it started beeping and then will forget to replace them.
Having a working smoke detector can simply save lives, Corbin said.
“It’s the difference between life and death,” Corbin said. “They do work. There’s no reason for someone to not get out safely if there is a fire.”
For an application, call (540) 727-0372.
Blue and Red Santa Project
The Culpeper Volunteer Fire Department Co. 1 is also partnering with the Culpeper Police Department to help spread joy during the Christmas season.
Started last year, the Blue and Red Santa Project helped 122 children in the Culpeper community receive gifts last year, working through the Department of Human Services.
This year, Corbin said he’s hoping to help even more children.
“How many kids we take depends on the amount of funds we collect,” Corbin said. “We’re trying to average $100 a person. Last year we were able to spend $130 per person. It’s all about the general public and local businesses, how much they contribute and how many kids we can take.”
There are several different donor sponsorships ranging from $100-$500 (Elf), all the way to a Christmas Angel ($2,100) or more.
The program begins with breakfast at the fire hall provided by civic organizations on Dec. 2 at 7 a.m. Children will then be taken on a shopping trip to the Culpeper Wal-Mart, where an additional 10 percent is taken off the purchases for the kids. Santa will also be there to greet children and a school band provides a festive feel.
“It’s just a heartwarming experience,” Corbin said.
To contribute to the program, donations can be sent to: The Blue and Red Santa Project, P.O. Box 579, Culpeper, VA 22701.