The Le Mars Fire Department was honored with the Life Safety Achievement Award for the year 2006 this month.
The award recognizes fire departments' local fire prevention activities. Le Mars' department was qualified for the award because it recorded no fire deaths in structures for the year.
"We've received the award the last several years," Fire Chief Wayne Schipper said. "We get a certificate for our fire department, but the main thing is we keep promoting good fire safety. We're not here to get awards. We're here to get a message across."
One part of the message, he said, is making sure people know whether their smoke alarms work.
"You need to change out the inexpensive, battery operated ones every ten years," he said. "You may still be able to make them beep, but their sensitivity changes."
Even hard-wired smoke detectors should be checked and even changed after a decade, he suggested.
The Le Mars Fire Department puts on about 30 fire prevention programs a year.
"Having somebody lose their life in a fire can happen in any size community, that potential is out there," Schipper said. "We're in a larger community, and that's why we really want to push fire prevention."
The Life Safety Achievement Award is presented by the Residential Fire Safety Institute.