NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - With bitter cold on the way later this week, a North Charleston fire official is stressing the importance of having a working smoke detector in the home.
North Charleston Fire Department Public Information Director Bianca Bourbeau was working as a newspaper reporter in Texas several years ago when a smoke alarm saved her life after a fire broke out in her home.
"Take a nap, smoke alarm went off and I wouldn't have survived if it hadn't been for the smoke alarm," Bourbeau said.
Bourbeau's close call was a career changing move for her and she went into the fire service. Getting the word out about smoke detectors is now her passion.
"The smoke alarm in the home is one of the most vital safety pieces of equipment that you can have, it's that important," she said.
"It's the unfortunate truth that when you go to sleep, your sense of smell shuts off, therefore once you're asleep you cannot smell the smoke."
Bourbeau says approximately 3,000 people die in fires each year in the United States.
She says about 85 percent of those victims did not have a smoke detector or working smoke detector on the home.
The North Charleston Fire Department and most fire departments in the Tri-County area will install smoke detectors free of charge in your home.