'Get Alarmed' program connects North Charleston firefighters, residents

By Sheldon Dutes  bio | email | Twitter 

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Firefighters never want to lose a life in a fire, yet it's an inevitable part of the job, no matter how quickly firefighters respond or how careful they are. Four lives have been lost in North Charleston fires in 2010 and firefighters there are determined not to lose any more.

As part of its "Get Alarmed" program, the North Charleston Fire Department routinely inspects and replaces smoke alarms around the city.

"We want to give them as much help as we can to save their lives and a smoke alarm really does that," said Fire Educator Bianca Sancic.

Sancic and fire fighters from Station 8 Tuesday hit the streets of the Union Heights neighborhood to make sure every resident had working smoke alarms.

"Fire fighters will come out and check your smoke alarms to see if you're having trouble with your batteries. If you're batteries or smoke alarm need to be replaced, they'll do it," said Sancic.

In addition to checking smoke alarms, fire fighters also educate residents on the importance of maintaining their smoke alarms. "We recommend changing the battery in your alarm twice a year: when the clock moves forward and when it moves back," said Sancic.

According to experts, smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years and batteries in those detectors need to be replaced every six months. The date of manufacture for most smoke detectors is printed on the back of the device.

Sancic also said there should be smoke alarms near every sleeping area of the home and at least one smoke alarm per floor.

As part of the "Get Alarmed" program, the North Charleston Fire Department does a neighborhood sweep approximately four times a year; residents are grateful.

"There's not a price that you can put on a life. So, I think it's good that we have a fire department that can take the time out when there isn't an emergency to come out here and check the neighborhood out," Patricia Holmes said.

North Charleston residents can call 740-2616 and fire officials will give a free smoke detector inspection.

©2010 WCSC. All rights reserved.

By Sheldon Dutes  bio | email | Twitter  ©2010 WCSC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.