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Safety reminder: NCFS, CFD educating public on fires

COVINGTON - The Newton County Fire Service and the Covington Fire Department are celebrating National Fire Prevention Week, which started Sunday and runs through Saturday.

Both departments urge residents to use smoke detectors, keep batteries fresh in existing detectors and observe fire safety rules. Both departments have programs to furnish free smoke detectors to residents who need them.

"The Covington Fire Department has partnered with the Division of Public Health to provide free smoke detectors and prevention materials to high-risk populations and homes," Deputy Chief David Carter said. Homes occupied by lower-income families, elderly and young children and manufactured housing are considered high-risk homes.

"In order to participate in the program, residents must fill out a voluntary participation agreement release form and provide basic resident information," Carter said. "The information collected from the form will be used to track prevention successes with the program. The Covington Fire Department will install the smoke detectors and provide prevention material to the participants free of charge."

Covington residents interested in participating in the program may call 770-385-2100.

Free smoke alarms are also available for county residents through NCFS.

"We've given out almost 400 free smoke alarms so far this year," Deputy Chief Tim Smith said.

Residents who are in need of a fire alarm from NCFS may call 770-784-2116.

Mayfield Ace Hardware is also participating in National Fire Prevention Week by offering one free battery per household for smoke detectors. Students who are receiving fire safety education in public schools this month will be given a coupon to take home. Parents can bring the coupon and the old battery from a smoke detector to the hardware store and they will be given a new Ace 9-volt battery to replace it. The offer is only good for this week.

Mayfield Ace Hardware has locations on the Square and in Newton Plaza.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.

· Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

· For best protection use both photoelectric and ionization technology. You can use individual ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or combination units that contain both technologies in the same unit.

· Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

· Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.

· Make sure everyone can hear the sound of the smoke alarms.

· Have a home fire escape plan. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible, and a meeting place outside. Practice your escape plan twice a year.

· When the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out.

· For those building or remodeling, consider a home fire sprinkler system.

Source: www.firepreventionweek.org

SideBar: Fire facts nationwide

· In 2008, U.S. fire departments responded to 386,500 home fires. These fires killed 2,755 people. Eighty-three percent of all fire deaths result from home fires.

· Someone was injured in a home fire every 40 minutes, and about eight people died in home fires every day in 2008.

· A fire department responded to a home fire every 81 seconds.

· Almost two-thirds of reported home fire deaths from 2003 to 2006 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms.

· About a third of home fires and deaths happened in the months of December, January and February.

· Cooking continues to be the leading cause of home fires and injuries.

· Smoking materials caused one of every four home fire deaths.

· The kitchen is the leading area of origin for home fires. However, bedrooms and living/family rooms are the leading areas of origin for home fire deaths.

Source: www.firepreventionweek.org