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Covington Fire Dept. asks for votes in grant program

COVINGTON -- The Covington Fire Department is known for helping out in a crisis, and now they're asking residents to help them.

The department is in a national competition funded by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company known as the Be Fire Smart Fire Safety Pledge program and stands to win $10,000 if enough people vote for the department.

"We need to get the word out and let the citizens know because it's all vote based," said Engineer Jody Roberson, who is chairman of the department's recently formed Outreach Committee. "It's just a matter of logging in to the website and voting. I did it and it takes about five minutes."

Roberson said he found out about the contest through his personal Liberty Mutual agent. The insurance company awards a total of $100,000 annually -- $10,000 grants to 10 departments across the nation who receive the most votes via the Internet. The contest is broken down into categories by the size of the department -- two awards are given to large departments; six to medium-sized departments, which is the category for the CFD; and two to small departments.

Roberson said the CFD will use its winnings for community outreach, which could include the purchase of smoke detectors, funding a Fire Prevention Night or setting up a website to alert residents about available services.

Roberson said each voter is required to have a valid email address and a verification email will be sent.

"Simply log in to the website, click a couple of clicks, answer 10 fire safety questions -- it doesn't matter whether they're right or wrong -- and then look for us as the department they want to be identified with," Roberson said.

Roberson said he checked out the competition recently and they currently had a little over 300 votes each. Although voting started the first of September, he didn't think it would be too hard for Covington to catch up if every firefighter, their families and friends vote. But to go over the top, they need for the many citizens the department serves to take the time to add their vote to the tally.

Votes are being accepted through Oct. 31.

Visit www.befiresmart.com/protect-your-community/fire-safety-pledge/fire-safety-pledge-quiz/default.aspx to get started.