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CFD chief lists fire safety tips

Posted: October 23, 2012 3:20 p.m.
Updated: October 24, 2012 5:00 a.m.


Imagine waking up in the middle of the night from deadly smoke and fire alarms buzzing. You frantically wake your family and try to escape from the overwhelming black smoke. Feeling frazzled, you stumble down the stairs only to realize that the fire is blocking your escape out of the front door. What is your next step?

According to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, many families in South Carolina found themselves in this frightening predicament in 2011, resulting in 57 fire fatalities. There have already been 50 tragic fire fatalities in South Carolina in 2012.

October is National Fire Safety Month and was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres over a two-day period.

There are many things that you can do to ensure that you and your family won’t be another statistic. The Camden Fire Department responds to more than 500 calls annually and recommends that its citizens remember and practice these safety tips:

• Have a smoke detector on every level of your home

• Test your smoke detectors monthly

• Replace smoke detector batteries twice a year

• Replace smoke detectors that are 10 years old or older

• Develop a home escape plan and practice it; have two ways out

• Teach children that matches and lighters are tools for adults, not toys for children

And, as always, have a plan to ensure your family has a safe escape. If you have children and want to make this a family activity, here are a few tips you can follow to make sure your family knows what actions to take if you are faced with a house fire:

• Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.

• Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.

• Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.

• Sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape drill with everyone living in your home.

• Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and practice the drill twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.

If your family is all adults:

• Walk through you home and identify two ways out of each room.

• Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped.

• Make sure everyone knows to call 911 if you have a fire emergency.

• Practice your escape drill twice a year.

I am proud to say that the Camden Fire Department offers many different programs in our community such as free home safety inspections, a smoke detector installation program, child safety seat installations and a clown and puppet show performed for 1,500 to 2,000 students during Fire Prevention Month. Camden employs 25 firefighters and works with 18 volunteer firefighters. We offer smoke detectors and smoke detector batteries free of charge to Camden residents. To find out more about Fire Safety Month programs and activities in the city of Camden, please contact the Camden Fire Department at 425-6040.



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