Augusta, GA, (WJBF)- With the fall season underway – that means space heaters will be coming out and fires will be built. In Richmond county five people have already died this year because of a fire, tragedies fire crews say could have been prevented.
Dee Griffin of the Augusta Fire Department says having the tools you need to keep your family safe be the difference between life and death.
“One fatality is high in any case we don’t want to lose any lives but the best way to prevent the loss of life is a smoke detector because when this goes off that’s your first indicator that something’s wrong.” Griffin said.
Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained throughout your house play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years and batteries should be tested every month. Griffin says smoke alarms should be placed in every area of your home where someone could sleep.
“Every bedroom should have a smoke detector and the basement should have a smoke detector because this is the first defense against fire fatalities.” Griffin added.
Shadai Echols says after accidently falling asleep with her oven on she now checks her fire detector often.
“It’ definitely important because it put people’s lives at risk if you don’t have a fire detector because you never know if sometimes you won’t be able to smell the smoke carbon monoxide can be seeping into your home without you even knowing it you just have to take all of the precautions necessary.” Echols said.
“In addition to having a fire detector that works, having a family escape plan in case of a fire is just as important.
“When there’s nothing happening at night and its really dark turn out the lights have your kids get on their hands and knees and crawl out to the front door. They need to know how to get out. In an instance when there’s a smoke filled room and its dark you won’t know what to do so if you practice those escape plans how do we get out that will raise your chances of surviving.” Griffin said.
Griffin stresses the importance of getting as far away from the home as possible. She says sometimes its not getting out that’s the hard part but going back in the home.
“That’s another problem people will go back into the house for a loved one they think is missing someone inside the house or a pet, things like family pictures those are things that can be replaced a life cannot be replaced.” Griffin concluded.
For more information on how to create your own fire escape plan and other fire safety tips log onto http://www.nfpa.org