With the loss of the lives of two local residents in a recent fire as a tragic reminder, Statesboro firefighters and American Red Cross volunteers will be out and about Saturday morning to help save lives through a Neighborhood Smoke Alarm and Safety Blitz.
The event is a timely warning during the cold-weather season, when people are using space heaters and holiday decorations that increase the chance of fire. Statesboro and Bulloch County firefighters responded last week to a Bell Road home where two people succumbed to smoke from a fire ignited by clothing left too close to a space heater.
While the focus will be on certain neighborhoods on this particular day, the Statesboro Fire Department offers free home safety visits to all city and fire district residents, as well as a smoke detector program for those who are in need, said Statesboro fire Chief Tim Grans.
Saturday’s Neighborhood Smoke Alarm and Safety Blitz will be held in the Sugar Hill area off West Jones Avenue as well as other nearby neighborhoods from 8:30 a.m. until noon, he said.
“As part of this initiative, Statesboro firefighters and Red Cross volunteers will go door to door to install free smoke alarms in the neighborhoods,” he said. “Additionally, firefighters will be able to inspect and test current smoke alarms, replace batteries as needed, and offer other home fire safety advice.”
Smoke alarms are extremely important safety measures, especially during the winter months when the frequency of house fires rises, he said.
“A working smoke alarm dramatically increases a person's chance of surviving a fire.”
As firefighters and volunteers visit the neighborhoods, residents in each household will be encouraged to keep safety tips in mind when developing a home fire safety plan.
“A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire, increasing the time for escape,” he said.
Also, he advises people to “install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area.” Alarms should be installed on every level of the home and, if possible, should be interconnected, meaning when one sounds, they all sound.
Larger homes may need extra smoke alarms, Grams said.
Homeowners and tenants should test smoke alarms at least once a month.
“Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working,” he said. “Replace batteries twice a year, when the time changes, and replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.”
If your smoke alarm sounds off, “get outside and stay outside,” he said. “Plan and practice a fire escape plan with two exits and a preset meeting point outside.”
Grams invited people to visit the Statesboro Fire Department website at www.StatesboroFD.com or call (912) 764-FIRE (3473) to learn more about the smoke alarm program and other services.