Wawbeek offers safety

Published 9:01 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
The Wawbeek Volunteer Fire Department held a kick-off event, enjoying snacks and learning about fire safety, Saturday morning at Canoe Furniture in celebration of the Alabama Smoke Alarm Initiative Program.
The department received a state grant that will allow them to increase home fire safety awareness within its fire service area.
According to Marietta Johnson, Wawbeek Fire Department chief, the grant will permit members of the department to knock on doors to provide smoke alarms and inform the resident of any fire hazards they may see in their home, such as a heater beside a bed or dish towels by the stove. The department will also teach residents an evacuation route in case of a fire.
"We've been given a grant to go and put fire alarms in," Johnson said. "We will be able to see if the resident has oxygen tanks, is in a wheelchair, if there are children or if there are any people with disabilities. In case we got a call out to their house, we'd know what we would be getting into."
Johnson said the reason behind the grant is to simply provide safety for community members. She stated that the reason Wawbeek Volunteer Fire Department exists is to help community members and by putting in smoke alarms that are at no charge, the department is attempting to keep the small town fire-free.
"It's a safety thing," she said. "Smoke alarms save lives. We are here to help the community in any way we can"
Johnson wanted residents to understand that the service of checking homes is free along with the smoke alarms, and that none of the department members will try to sell any products to residents.
"The fire alarms are free," Johnson said. "And nobody will be coming in behind us to sell them anything. We don't use their addresses for anything other than the safety check."
The Alabama Smoke Alarm Initiative program is controlled by the Alabama Department of Public Health along with the Alabama State Fire Marshal's Office. Funding for the program is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga.
The smoke alarm checks will begin within the next couple of weeks and people are allowed to refuse aid from the department.

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