Georgetown County Fire-EMS installed nearly 100 smoke detectors in 24 homes on a recent morning. It was part of a Smoke Detector Blitz the department put on with assistance from partners including the American Red Cross and the State Fire Marshall’s Office.
From early morning to afternoon, staff went door to door in the community around McDonald Elementary School to see if residents had working smoke detectors in their homes. For those who did not, smoke detectors were installed. Carbon Monoxide Detectors were also installed where needed, and staff talked with residents about the importance of having an emergency plan and reviewing it with the whole family.
The event was organized as a result of a recent tragedy in the area. A person was killed in a house fire on West Virginia Road on June 30.
“When you have a fatality or a bad fire in your neighborhood, people are a little more apt to be receptive of public safety messaging and take things more seriously,” said Lt. Dale Hewitt, who headed up organization of the blitz. “We had a lot of people say, ‘yeah, come on in,’ and who were really glad of the help.”
Claudia Dozier was one of the residents who welcomed firefighters into her home, where they installed smoke detectors in two main downstairs rooms and several bedrooms. After talking with firefighters, she said she planned to talk to her grandchildren about what to do in case of a fire and make sure they are familiar with the sound of a smoke detector going off.
“It’s not something I had really thought about,” she said. “I’m not sure how the younger kids would react in a fire — would they just panic and stay right there? These alarms will alert anybody else in the house now. If there was a fire or smoke in the room or anything, we would hear and know to get them in time. I’ll definitely talk with them about how to get out if there’s a fire and what to do.”
Hewitt said one person he talked to during the blitz had been using the same smoke detectors for 30 years.
“They’re really only good for 10 years,” he added. “It’s something you just don’t think about until either you’re cooking and the alarm goes off, or it doesn’t go off when they have a fire.”
Anyone who needs assistance installing or checking smoke detectors in their home should contact their local fire department.
“Don’t wait until it’s too late,” Hewitt said.
Watch our related video at YouTube.com/gtcountysc.