PRESS RELEASE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2007
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez, Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385

SENATOR LUCIO DECLARES MARCH 21 SMOKE ALARM AWARENESS DAY

HONORS LIFE OF LATE SENATOR FRANK MADLA, JR.

AUSTIN, TX -- Today Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. commemorated the life of his longtime friend and colleague, the former Sen. Frank Madla, Jr., by proclaiming March 21, 2007, Smoke Alarm Awareness Day at the State Capitol.

Co-authoring Senate Resolution 491 is Sen. Leticia Van de Putte from San Antonio. Today was also Firefighter Legislative Day sponsored by the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association.

"Having smoke alarms in every home can avert fire tragedies and loss of precious lives, such as those of Mrs. Mary Cruz (Sen. Madla's mother-in-law), Sen. Madla, and his precious granddaughter Aleena (Virginia Jimenez)" said Sen. Lucio. "The family died as a result of a fire in the San Antonio home of the Madla's Nov. 24, 2006. Sen. Madla's wife, Helen, survived despite injuries. She attended the event with three relatives.

State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado commented, "Smoke alarms are essential to home fire safety because they alert us to fire in its early stages... They can save your life when you are at your most vulnerable - asleep at night in your home."

"Smoke alarms are one of those tools made available to help save people from fires, and I highly recommend that every home have at least one, but preferably more," said Brownsville Fire Chief Lenny Perez, president of the Texas Fire Chiefs Association. "I encourage people to please contact their local fire stations to see if they have a smoke alarm program and if not, to encourage their fire stations to start one."

The National Fire Protection Association reports that more than 700 lives could be saved every year by the presence of a working smoke alarm in every home. The death rate from home fires has been reduced by half since battery-powered smoke alarms became available in the 1970s. Fire deaths could decline an additional 36 percent if every home had a working smoke alarm, ideally in every room. Smoke alarms should be tested regularly and batteries should be replaced twice a year.

"If only Sen. Madla's home had been equipped with working smoke alarms, we would still be blessed with these three beautiful individuals," added Sen. Lucio. "Everyone's home should be equipped with smoke alarms in every room, and we should remember to maintain them."

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