HCFR teams up with the American Red Cross to ensure fire safety in one Horry County Community

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The American Red Cross is always there to help a family misplaced by a fire. Now the organization has a goal in mind, preventing these fires from ever happening in the first place.

"The red cross wants to limit the injuries and fatalities due to fires by 25 percent across the country over a five year span," Lou Palm said.

Disaster Manager for the American Red Cross, Lou Palm, says it all starts with education and the right hardware.

What brought firefighters to the Gale Community Friday, was something they learned two weeks ago.

"Two weeks ago we had a dryer fire and the occupants were alerted by a young child in the house, the actual house was not protected by smoke alarms," Justin Gibbons said.

Horry County Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Justin Gibbons says many of the homes in the Gale Acres community are on the older side, which contributes to two major problems firefighters see when it comes to fires.

"One large problem is an unprotected home, a home that has no smoke alarms what so ever. A second problem is an under protected home, which is also a concern, where a home may not have adequate smoke alarms, they are either out of date… the life expectancy of a smoke alarm is ten years," Gibbons explained.

Firefighters are working to install new alarms, and replace the old with a low maintenance yet highly Effective alarm.

"The detectors that we're installing are actually a ten year lithium ion battery, so you don't have to change the batteries every year," Gibbons said.

The Red Cross hopes to have more than 500,000 fire alarms installed across the state over the next five years.

While also teaching families about the importance of having a plan, and a smoke and fire alarm.

"Have a way to get out of your house, a two minute drill, a place to meet, and a smoke alarm provides you that alarm to get out of your house, you've got two minutes to get out of a house that's on fire," Palm said.

In case they've missed any homes today, the American Red Cross will be back in the area on December 19th.

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