The state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens wants to make sure everyone has a working smoke detector in their home.
He presented 50 smoke detectors to Columbia County Fire Rescue Chief Doug Cooper Monday. The detectors are to be distributed to citizens unable to purchase one as part of the Operation Safe Home prevention program.
“It is of paramount importance that you have a working, working smoke alarm in your house,” Hudgens said.
Hudgens said 18 people have died so far this year in residential structure fires. Detectors should always have working batteries and be placed on every level of the home and especially in bedrooms.
“Most fire fatalities occur in the home and most occur when people are sleeping,” Hudgens said. “Having a smoke alarm in your home can mean the different between life and death. In fact, statistics show that having a working smoke alarm in the house doubles your chances of getting out alive.”
Cooper said anyone who can’t afford a smoke detector can call the fire department at (706) 863-7745 and get one for free.
Firefighters will install the smoke detector if residents are unable to.
“We feel like everybody needs a smoke detector,” Cooper said. “It can actually make our job easier to do. The sooner we know there’s a fire, the sooner we can get there and do something about it.”