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NCFS: Smoke detectors alert family to fire

COVINGTON — Smoke detectors installed in a home by the Newton County Fire Service are credited for saving the lives of the residents who were able to escape a house fire Monday morning.

Sometime around 5:30 a.m., the NCFS responded to a fire at 115 Beaver Dam Court.

“Fire was showing upon arrival and our crews made a quick stop,” said Deputy Fire Chief Brad Stapp.

Fire was contained to two rooms and the damage to the house was considered moderate, he said.

“The big story here is that the family of five and their pets all escaped unharmed due to being awakened by smoke detectors,” Stapp said.

They heard the alarm and the father was able to get everyone out of the house to safety.

“After talking to the homeowner, it was determined that our department had installed the detectors a few years ago,” Stapp said.

Lt. Cydnie Ridling, fire and life safety educator with the NCFS, said the fire department will identify high-risk areas in the county and conduct what she terms “smoke alarm blitzes” about twice a year, depending on how many detectors they have available.

“We decide where the risk areas are and go into those area and go door to door,” Ridling said.

If the resident allows them inside, fire service personnel will check to see if the home has working smoke detectors. If they do, they will replace the batteries with 10-year lithium batteries; if not, they will install new alarms, also with the long-lasting batteries.

“We also try to educate while we’re in there and go through a home escape drill with them,” Ridling said.

She said the NCFS will also point out any safety hazards they see while in the home.

In addition to the blitzes, the fire department also installs smoke detectors by request. Ridling said she receives two or three calls a week from people asking for a smoke detector.

Ridling keeps a record of all the homes where the NCFS visits or installs smoke detectors. This information is useful for applying for grants to purchase more detectors – the primary way the fire department acquires them since there is no money in the general fund budget for the alarms.

She said the detectors in the Beaver Dam Court home were installed in 2009, and the fire service plans to do another blitz in the area today (Tuesday) between 5:30 and 7 p.m. to make sure the ones installed five years ago are still working or install new ones that are needed.

Anyone who would like to request a smoke detector from the Newton County Fire Service or to make donations to purchase new ones can call 678-625-5010.