Each year more than 4,000 Americans die in fires and about 20,000 are injured.
“Many might be alive today if they only had the information needed to avoid a disaster,” said Dawson County Emergency Services Deputy Chief Tim Satterfield. “Eight-two percent of all fire deaths occur in the home,” he said.
Having a working smoke detector reduces your chances of dying in a fire by nearly half, according to Satterfield.
Beginning Oct. 27, Dawson County Emergency Services and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will be knocking on doors to offer and install the free smoke detectors and batteries, said emergency services spokesperson Cathy Brooks.
Keep your eyes open for fire engines on your street from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 27, from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 28 and from 9 a.m. to noon Oct.29.
For those who wish to make an appointment to receive a smoke detector, contact Dawson County Emergency Services at (706) 344-3666.
Deputy Chief Tim Satterfield suggests the following fire prevention tips:
• Watch what you’re cooking. Stay in the kitchen when you’re frying, grilling or broiling food. If you must leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
• Give space heaters space. Keep fixed and portable space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn. Turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
• Smoke outside and keep matches and lighters out of reach. Ask smokers to smoke outside. Have sturdy, deep ashtrays for smokers. Keep matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of children, preferably in a cabinet with a child lock.
• Inspect electrical cords. Replace cords that are cracked or damaged, have broken plugs or have loose connections.
• Be careful when using candles. Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn. Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
• Have a home fire escape plan. Make a home fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
• Install and test smoke alarms. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Interconnect smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month and replace batteries once a year or when the alarm chirps to tell you the battery is low. Replace any smoke alarm that is more than 10 years old.
• Install sprinklers. If you’re building or remodeling your home, install residential fire sprinklers. Sprinklers can contain and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive.
Dawson County Emergency Services is committed to the preservation of the lives and property of the citizens of Dawson County.
For more information, call (706) 344-3666 or visit www.dawsoncounty.org.