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Firefighters to visit homes, install free smoke alarms

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By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Greenville Fire-Rescue crews will be canvassing neighborhoods and installing smoke alarms free of charge on Saturday morning as part of a statewide initiative organized by the Office of the State Fire Marshal to reduce fire fatalities in North Carolina. 

During the first four months of 2018, more than 70 fire deaths occurred statewide, many of which took place in homes without working smoke alarms, according to a news release from Greenville Fire-Rescue. As of Wednesday, the total number of fire deaths statewide had risen to 91.  

To put that in perspective, 83 people lost their lives in North Carolina because of fire in 2017.

Staff from OSFM, the American Red Cross, and Kidde, a major manufacturer of fire safety equipment, along with dozens of firefighters, plan to install more than 3,300 smoke alarms in homes across North Carolina. Kidde donated 750 smoke alarms to this event.

“While the Office of State Fire Marshal has conducted many smoke alarm canvasses statewide, we have never attempted to canvass the entire state in one day with free smoke alarm installations,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey. “We want to educate as many people as possible and more importantly, provide them with smoke alarms and the resources they need to take extra precautions from home fires.”

According to a State Fire Marshal news release, the door-to-door event aims to prevent fire deaths in North Carolina through education and the installation of new smoke alarms in homes that need them.

OSFM organizers, American Red Cross volunteers and fire department members will check homes for the presence of working smoke alarms and install new ones where needed at no charge to residents, the release said. 

“Smoke alarms are incredibly important to the safety of our residents,” Greenville Fire-Rescue Life Safety Educator Rebekah Thurston said. “Your chances of survival in a home fire goes up dramatically if you have a working smoke alarm.”

Firefighters will visit several Greenville neighborhoods on Saturday installing alarms or replacing batteries where needed. Some of the areas they plan to visit include the Hillsdale neighborhood located off of Arlington Boulevard and Memorial Drive, and homes on Sunset Avenue.   

The alarms for the canvas were provided through a grant program administered by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.   

City residents who do not live in the area being canvassed can receive free smoke alarms and have them installed by Greenville Fire-Rescue.

“We will always install working smoke alarms to citizens who need them,” Thurston said.

To find out more about the event or to schedule a smoke alarm installation, call 329-4679. 

Tyler Stocks can be contacted at tstocks@reflector.com or 252-329-9566.  Follow him on Twitter @TylerstocksGDR

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