(PHOTOS) DeKalb County checks smoke detectors in neighborhood following fatal fire

DeKalb County Fire Rescue Inspector C. Simpson installs a smoke detector in a neighborhood home on Tuesday, Dec. 14. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Greater Decatur, GA — Hours after an early morning house fire on Janet Lane in greater Decatur that claimed the lives of 5 family members on Tuesday, Dec. 14, teams from DeKalb County Fire Rescue canvased the street to install smoke detectors for residents of the neighborhood located off Glenwood Road.

“We want to make sure that they are prepared as much as possible in case there is a fire that occurs at night,” said Fire Chief Darnell Fullum. “One of the most poignant data points is the fact that at least 50% of fire deaths occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. on most cases when people are asleep. We are going to knock on all the doors and see if the folks have a smoke detector and if they don’t, we will install it for them.”

DeKalb County Fire Rescue Public Education Specialist Jazmyne Jones checks to see if a resident’s smoke detector is functioning properly on Tuesday, Dec. 14. Photo by Dean Hesse.

As teams spread out with smoke detectors, one neighbor said when he thought about the family members who tragically lost their lives, it made his heart fall out.

“Get smoke alarms and check the batteries,” said the man who did not want to be identified.

According to the NFPA National Fire Protection Association (NFPA,) a global self-funded nonprofit organization, established in 1896, devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards, once a smoke detector sounds, fire can spread rapidly leaving as little as one to two minutes to safely escape. Keeping doors closed can slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Families should have an escape plan and practice it twice a year, both during the day and at night.

Nancy Jones looks on as DeKalb County Fire Rescue Senior Firefighter Alex Kulik from Station 20 installs a smoke detector in her bedroom on Tuesday, Dec. 14. Photo by Dean Hesse.

DeKalb County Fire Rescue officials offered the following fire safety tips for residences in a news release Dec. 14.

“The No. 1 defense from a fire that occurs in your home will be an operating smoke alarm,” DeKalb County Fire Rescue Chief Darnell Fullum said.

Neighborhood resident Dexter Lee picked up two smoke detectors from DeKalb County Fire Rescue for his home on Tuesday, Dec. 14. “Life is so precious,” said Lee. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Other tips include:

  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
  • Never leave cooking food unattended and make sure to follow these tips while cooking:
    • Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking.
    • Establish a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet around your stove.
    • Keep the area around your stove clear of towels, paper, and anything else that can easily burn or catch fire.
    • Regularly clean your cooking equipment so that there is no accumulation of food items or grease which increase flammability.
    • Use a lid or baking soda to smother a pan fire.
  • Exercise safety and use proper ventilation when operating alternative heat sources, such as fireplaces and electric heaters.
  • Do not use an oven as a heat source.
  • Do not bring grills, generators, kerosene heaters, and other outside heating devices inside to heat a home, as they emit poisonous carbon monoxide.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater
  • Only use one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  • Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.
  • Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used.
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use. Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
  • Place heaters on a solid, flat surface.
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.

For more information on fire safety and prevention visit: nfpa.org.

DeKalb County Fire Rescue officials gather in front of the home in the 1900 block of Janet Lane where the fatal fire occurred as several teams went from door to door in the neighborhood to check and install smoke detectors on Tuesday, Dec. 14. Photo by Dean Hesse.
Standing in front of the home on Janet Lane where a fatal fire occurred in the early morning hours of Tuesday. Dec. 14., DeKalb County Fire Rescue Chief Darnell Fullum said, “We are going to knock on all the doors and see if the folks have a smoke detector and if they don’t, we will install it for them.” Photo by Dean Hesse.
Teams from DeKalb County Fire Rescue go from door to door on Janet Lane to install smoke detectors for residents of the greater Decatur neighborhood. Photo by Dean Hesse.

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