Edmonds Discusses Annual Smoke Detector Campaign, Shares Heating Safety Tips

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Captain Lee Edmonds was on Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss the Henderson Fire Department’s annual smoke detector and battery inspection program along with winter heating safety tips.

The annual campaign kicked off at the beginning of this month and is expected to continue through early spring.

Started in 2009 after a Vance County family lost several of their children to a house fire, Edmonds said the door-to-door home inspection program is “a good opportunity to check houses and check smoke detectors to make sure everything is working properly.”

The inspection, which begins anew each November following Fire Prevention Month in October, is free of charge to City of Henderson residents. “We put new batteries in smoke detectors, replace old smoke detectors and install smoke detectors in places that did not previously have them,” said Edmonds.

For the month of November, Edmonds estimated that the department has visited approximately 950 homes and has been successful in inspecting just shy of 200. In a previous interview with WIZS, Edmonds stated that the fire department’s goal is to visit 6,000 homes per annual campaign.

“We aren’t able to get into all of the homes we visit because either people aren’t home or they say they regularly check their batteries and smoke detectors,” said Edmonds. “If they aren’t home, we leave a note on their door asking them to call us so we can come back out.”

In addition to homes, the department inspects downtown businesses annually and most other businesses on a three-year basis.

With the number of fire-related deaths in 2018 topping previous years, the Henderson Fire Department urges residents to check their detectors regularly and to allow fire department personnel inside their home during the annual door-to-door campaign.

Additional Safety Tips Courtesy of Captain Edmonds:

  • Carbon monoxide detectors are inexpensive and should always be used in homes that heat with a fuel source such as propane, kerosene or natural gas.
  • Leave three feet of clearance around any type of heater – fireplace, electric heater or gas heater.
  • Unplug electric heater when not in use and always plug directly into wall outlet. Never plug a heater into an extension cord. Extension cords are not rated for a heater and may overheat and cause a fire.
  • Have heaters and furnaces serviced at least once, preferably twice, a year by a certified technician to ensure everything is in working order and to minimize safety hazards.
  • During the holidays, make sure real Christmas trees are watered properly. Christmas lights will catch a dry tree on fire very quickly. Inspect light cords on all types of Christmas decorations and plug directly into wall outlet. Christmas lights should always be unplugged when you aren’t at home.
  • Never attempt to leave the stove open as a means of heating your home.
  • Families should have at least two escape routes mapped out in their home that everyone knows. An outside meeting place should also be discussed in case members of the family escape the home different ways. Make sure windows can be opened and aren’t painted or nailed shut.

With questions regarding your smoke detector, fire safety or to schedule a time for a free home inspection, please call the Henderson Fire Department at (252) 430-1877.

To listen to the interview in its entirety, please click here.

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