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Red Cross, local rescuers join forces to promote fire safety

Red Cross volunteers and firefighters installed 65 free smoke alarms for vulnerable households...
Red Cross volunteers and firefighters installed 65 free smoke alarms for vulnerable households in Hephzibah.(Contributed)
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 4:50 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Red Cross and Augusta Fire Department/Emergency Management Agency partnered on Saturday to make sure local families have working smoke alarms — which can cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire.

More than 40 local Red Cross volunteers and firefighters installed 65 free smoke alarms for vulnerable households in Hephzibah, helped them create home fire escape plans and shared fire safety information. Red Cross volunteers also made appointments to install more smoke alarms over the next coming weeks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three of every fire deaths occurred in homes with no smoke alarms or no working alarms. In Augusta, firefighters average one fire call every day.

“The No. 1 thing smoke alarms provide people is time. Time to safely get out of the home or, depending on size, time for a person to put the fire out,” said Fire Chief/EMA Director Antonio Burden. “All we ask people to do is check their alarm once a month, maintain the alarm, and replace it when its manufacturer-recommended lifespan has expired.”

Susan Everitt, executive director of the American Red Cross of East Central Georgia, said most people don’t realize we have just two minutes to escape a home fire — which is the nation’s most frequent disaster.

This effort in the Augusta area community is part of a series of national Red Cross Sound the Alarm events in May to install 50,000 free smoke alarms in at-risk neighborhoods across the country.

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