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Firefighters Go Calling to Install Smoke Detectors

Firefighters Go Calling to Install Smoke Detectors

Morning Star via YellowBrix

June 13, 2010

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Theresa Dailey was a little surprised to find firefighters equipped with drills and a ladder at her door Friday evening.

Nor was she expecting the question posed to her: How many smoke detectors do you have in your house?

Firefighters from the Wilmington Fire Department spent about an hour canvassing the area around Burnett Boulevard and North Carolina Avenue on Friday, knocking on doors and asking if residents would like smoke detectors installed.

The department recommends having a detector in each bedroom and in hallways, with at least one on each floor of the home.

“The earlier detection you have, the better chance you have of getting out,” said firefighter Sheldon Goodwin, who was helping install detectors. “I’d have one in all my bedrooms.”

Friday’s outing was part of an education campaign the fire department has been participating in.

The department has 1,000 detectors to install through a grant from the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Association. The association received money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to test an education program based on those typical in the United Kingdom, said fire department educator Sarah Chapman.

Four other cities around the country are doing the same thing. The Washington State association hopes to collect data from the five cities and see whether there is any impact in fire prevention.

Last week, the Wilmington Fire Department and New Hanover County’s volunteer community emergency response team installed 86 alarms. Forty more were put in Friday.

Firefighters also are talking to residents about how to prevent electrical and cooking fires, and how to make an exit plan in case of an emergency.

The department’s detectors come with 10-year lithium batteries, which last longer than the regular batteries that most detectors use.

“A lot of the people have smoke alarms, but they’re just not working because the batteries have to be changed so regularly,” Chapman said.

The North Carolina Avenue neighborhood was targeted because it is the area where a woman was found dead after a May 25 fire.

Caroline Poggott, age 83 or 84, was found dead in a back bedroom at 1895 Burnett Blvd., Lot 5. Fire inspectors determined that the fire started at an electrical outlet behind a bookcase.

Dailey said she was friends with Poggott and that Poggott used to pet-sit her dog. So she was grateful that firefighters were going through the neighborhood.

“I like you and all,” Dailey told the firefighter crew as they finished installing a detector in one of her bedrooms. “But I don’t want to see you.”


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