New Bern Fire-Rescue is expanding its annual smoke detector canvas through local neighborhoods to include home safety visits. These visits are designed to identify home hazards, reduce the risk of fire, injury and death around the home, and increase overall safety.
For several years, New Bern Fire-Rescue has canvassed low-income neighborhoods providing free smoke detectors to residents who didn’t have adequate alarms inside their homes and replacing batteries in dead alarms. They have also installed detectors at no charge to residents. This year, Fire-Rescue Chief Bobby Boyd and his staff decided it was a good idea to expand the canvas to include home safety visits. “We’re here to protect and serve our community,” said Chief Boyd. “And although we’re trained to respond in an emergency, every preventive measure we implement can help reduce the risk of an emergency happening in our community. Everything we can do to educate our residents saves lives.”
Cooking fires are the number one cause of fires in New Bern. Chief Boyd is hoping the home safety visits will help homeowners and renters become more aware of possible dangers, like unattended food cooking on the stovetop or in the oven, deteriorating or malfunctioning appliances, and improper electrical support. Particularly with the upcoming winter season, firefighters will also make residents aware of the risk of fire danger from heating sources and the importance of maintaining appropriate distance from electrical or propane heaters, as well as wood and gas fireplaces.
“Our job is to save lives and protect property, and these visits will help us do that through awareness and education.” said Fire Marshal Danny Hill. “But, they’ll also help maintain and encourage communication with residents. We want them to ask questions. We want to help them develop fire escape plans. Providing resources, education, and safety tips to our residents helps reduce risks and increase community resiliency.”
The first home safety visits begin on November 21st in the Colony Estates neighborhood off Glenburnie Road. A team of 15 firefighters will go door-to-door from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or until supplies run out) and continue their canvas each weekend until the entire neighborhood has been contacted. For neighbors who are not home, a door hanger will be left at the home encouraging the resident to call New Bern Fire-Rescue at 252-639-2931 to schedule a home safety visit at a more convenient time. A typical home safety visit will last about 30 minutes. The American Red Cross and Lowe’s Home Improvement are joining Fire-Rescue in this effort, providing additional manpower and donating smoke detectors.
“We don’t want neighbors to be alarmed when they see the fire truck pull up this weekend,” said Fire Marshal Hill. “We’re there to help identify risks within your home, teach you what to do to reduce these risks and protect your family, ensure you have working smoke alarms, and help you put together an escape plan in case a fire does break out.”
Submitted by: Colleen Roberts, Public Information Officer, City of New Bern