Published Thursday, January 17, 2013
News headlines regarding fires in Georgia have been disturbing during the early days of the new year.
There were four young people killed in a fire in the Conyers area east of Atlanta. A surviving child is believed to have accidentally started the blaze. This week the Associated Press reported nine people have died in Georgia fires during the first 11 days of the new year. That’s a deadly start to 2013.
Here in our community, we have had damaging house fires this year. We reported on two house fires in the Wednesday newspaper, fires that did considerable damage to a home on U.S. 29 North and another on Gordon Street. Fortunately there were no fatalities and no injuries.
The winter months are the height of the fire season in homes. While we have had mild weather during the early days of the new year, that is about to change. Fire officials say with colder weather approaching our state tonight as the rains move out, people should be diligent about fire safety and ensuring they have working smoke detectors.
If you don’t have a smoke detector in your home, you should get one. If you can’t afford one, our local fire departments may be able to help you.
If you have smoke detectors, have you checked them to ensure they are in proper working order? Often, firefighters determine smoke detectors may be installed in a home, but they may not be working. Make sure your detectors have working batteries. If the detectors are old, they may need to be replaced with newer models.
A good rule of thumb is to check your smoke detectors at least two times a year to ensure they are working properly. Each year when we have a time change (November and March), safety officials remind us to check our smoke detectors. If you did not check your detector in November, do so today. It’s important not to delay what could be a lifesaving deed. Make sure your smoke detector is working.
Also, look around you house and make sure you have done everything possible to prevent a fire. Don’t leave matches, lighters or other things where children can get them.
The year has started off with too many tragic deaths in Georgia from fires. State fire officials say about 100 people in Georgia die annually from fires. In 2012, there were 72 fire deaths in our state. Let’s do our part to reduce those numbers.