Press Releases

State Distributing 20,000 Smoke Detectors

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance; November 21, 2012:  

NASHVILLE, TN – Fresh off the news from the National Fire Protection Association that Tennessee has improved its fatal-fire rankings by four positions, on Nov. 27, the State Fire Marshal’s Office will begin distributing smoke alarms to the counties most likely to have residential fire deaths.

“This massive, statewide, months-long distribution of smoke alarms is all part of our effort to both educate and equip Tennesseans to incorporate fire safety into their daily lives,” Tennessee Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said. “We want residents to make sure they have functional smoke alarms in their homes, as well as a rehearsed fire-escape plan. These are tools proven to save lives – because even one fire death is one too many.” The program kicks off 10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Elizabethton Fire Department in Carter County.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been awarded a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Fire Prevention Grant to purchase 20,000 smoke alarms for installations across the state of Tennessee. Eight thousand of these alarms will be distributed by the end of December 2012. The remaining 12,000 alarms will be distributed throughout the first 6 months of 2013.

For many years, Tennessee has held the undesirable ranking of the state with the second-most fire deaths in the nation. The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been committed to working alongside local fire departments to reduce this high fire mortality rate. These efforts were reflected when the NFPA recently released its latest report of U.S. Unintentional Fire Death Rates by State and listed Tennessee as having the sixth-most fire deaths in the nation.

“While this is a major improvement, the State Fire Marshal’s Office wants Tennesseans to know that the work does not stop there,” Fire Prevention Assistant Commissioner Gary West said. “We are thankful our incorporation of scientific data to pinpoint at-risk areas across the state is paying off in a reduction of fire deaths.” The State Fire Marshal’s Office is targeting 78 Census tracts across the state that have been identified as having the highest risk for fire fatalities. These areas were identified as part of a study done by the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service and the Tennessee Municipal League. According to the study, several social, economic, and housing variables correspond with residential fire deaths. These included education variables, median household incomes and median home values.

These variables were used to identify the census tracts in which no fire deaths had yet occurred, but we’re most like those tracts where fire deaths had occurred during 2002-2010.

The distribution will start with the following dates and locations:

  • Tuesday, November 27, 10:00 a.m.
    Elizabethton, TN (Carter County)
    Elizabethton Fire Department
    121 S. Sycamore Street
    Counties targeted: Carter, Johnson, Unicoi, Washington, Sullivan
  • Wednesday, November 28, 10:00 a.m.
    Greeneville, TN (Greene County)
    Tusculum Fire Department
    145 Alexander Street
    Counties targeted: Greene, Cocke, Hamblen, Jefferson
  •  Wednesday, November 28, 5:30 p.m.
    Rogersville, TN (Hawkins County)
    Rogersville Fire Department
    106 E. Kyle Street
    Counties targeted: Hawkins, Grainger, Hancock, Claiborne

The following week, the State Fire Marshal’s Office will go to the southeast portion of the state. That will be followed by distribution in West Tennessee and in Middle Tennessee. For distribution updates, go to

In addition to the smoke alarm distribution program, the State Fire Marshal’s Office is joining the Kidde Company in their efforts to increase public awareness of the importance of having working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan. The State Fire Marshal’s Office and Kidde are encouraging everyone to visit and take the “Be a Hero, Save a Hero” pledge to help protect your family and our firefighters.

Press Releases

TN State Parks Offers Free Night of Camping, Complimentary 18 Holes of Golf for TN Veterans

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation; November 5, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee State Parks announced today its annual free state parks day for all Tennessee veterans on Monday, Nov. 12, offering one free night of camping and complimentary greens fees for 18 holes of golf with appropriate identification.

Passed by the General Assembly in 2010, the policy calls for a yearly, special state parks day to honor Tennessee’s resident veterans.

“This is our way of honoring the many brave men and women who have served our country,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “The state parks family extends a warm invitation to all of Tennessee’s veterans to visit us on Nov. 12 and enjoy a day in one of our beautiful parks.”

The free day on Nov. 12 is in addition to Tennessee State Parks’ current veterans’ policy, which includes a camping discount within the state parks system and is available annually beginning November 1 through March 31, offering a 15 to 25 percent reduction off the standard nightly base rates (depending on the type of site chosen). This camping discount is available to Tennessee residents showing proof of prior military duty.

A special state park discount also is in place for active duty military personnel and members of the Tennessee National Guard. This year-round discount is given to all U.S. military – regardless of their branch of service or where they are stationed. Disabled veterans also are eligible for the Tennessee State Parks year-round ADA discount that provides a 25 to 50 percent discount for campsites. For more information about Tennessee State Parks’ veterans and military discounts, please visit

To receive the free state parks day benefits and extended discounts, veterans need to provide proof of residency with a Tennessee driver’s license; and proof of veteran’s status, with a Certificate of Discharge (DD214) or Veterans Administration benefit card.

Tennessee’s 54 state parks and 82 natural areas span the state from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River and offer an array of diverse natural, recreational and cultural experiences, including hiking, camping, boating and golfing. Celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, the Tennessee State Parks system was established through legislation in 1937. Today, there is a state park within an hour’s drive of just about anywhere in the state, with features such as pristine natural areas and a variety of lodging and dining choices. For more information, visit Tennessee State Parks’ website at