A significant increase in fires over the last few weeks has prompted emergency personnel to encourage the community to be fire smart this summer.
According to Dawson County Emergency Services Deputy Chief Tim Satterfield, fires kill more people in the United States every year than all natural disasters combined.
He said installing both smoke detectors and a fire sprinkler system reduces the risk of death in a fire by 82 percent compared to having neither.
The sprinkler system installed in a local home on Bay Drive helped firefighters contain a recent fire to the garage.
"Most sprinkler systems activate within two minutes. Most fire departments arrive in an average of six and a half minutes," Satterfield said.
While not every home has a sprinkler system, there are other safety measures residents can put in place.
Dawson County Emergency Services offers the following fire safety tips for your home:
• Have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home and outside bedrooms.
• Test smoke alarms monthly and change batteries at least once every year.
• Never disable or remove smoke alarm batteries.
• Make fire extinguishers handy. Be sure that you have at least one or more UL listed fire extinguisher in your home.
• Develop a fire escape plan with your household and practice often.
• Know your surroundings inside and outside and plan two ways to exit from every room in your home.
• Identify a place to meet household members outside. Never re-enter a burning building.
• Crawl low, under smoke.
• Feel closed doors. If hot, use another exit.
• Escape first and then call for emergency assistance.
• Talk prevention with your kids. Never play with matches, lighters or candles. Never play with electrical cords and never put anything in a socket. If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll.
For those wishing to make an appointment to receive a free smoke detector or to request a home safety check up, contact Dawson County Emergency Services at (706) 344-3666.