American Red Cross, HCFR talk fire safety - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

American Red Cross, HCFR talk fire safety

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - House fires are on the rise this time of year destroying homes and even claiming lives.

Saturday, a national push happened, to better protect families if a fire were ever to happen in their own home.

The American Red Cross and Horry County firefighters taught people how to save their lives from a home fire. It's a tragedy that can be prevented if the right precautions are taken.

Horry County fire crews went door-to-door checking if smoke alarms have batteries and are up-to-date. If a home needed a new smoke detector, the smoke detectors were installed at no cost.

"I think it's very nice that they thought of us to do that. Now I won't have to spend money and do it myself," says Hazel Jackson, who received a new smoke alarm.

The American Red Cross goal is to reduce death and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent over the next five years.

"It's the largest disaster every year and people need to have a plan, they need to realize what limitations there are within their own homes and how to keep their children safe," explains Nanci Conley, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Eastern South Carolina Chapter.

Kitchen and outside fires are the most common calls our local fire fighters get called out on.

"One of the problems we have is that people are cleaning their yards and they burn yard debris. Then, they walk around the back side of their house, go inside, get lunch and next thing they know the fire spread out of control," says Brian Van Aernam, Horry County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief.

Horry County Fire Rescue said because our environment is easily distracted with cell phones, TVs and busy lives it's leading to a lot of house fires.

What can save your lives from a fire is a smoke detector.

"We've had a couple of cases, one in the eight Juniper Bay Area where they have installed a smoke detector. Two weeks later, the gentleman had a house fire and it actually woke him up in the middle of the night which is a great success for us," explains, VanAernam

Horry County fire recommends to change your smoke detector every ten years and replace batteries every two.

Over the next few months of the American Red Cross Nationwide Fire Safety campaign, they plan to make their rounds to other communities in Horry County who are at high risk of a home fire. For now, the Red Cross asks to take this event as a reminder; check existing smoke alarm and practice fire drills.

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