Firefighters offer free home inspection for possible hazards

October 06, 1994|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

Firefighters will come to your house before a fire starts.

As part of National Fire Prevention Week, South County fire stations for the first time are offering home fire safety inspections starting Monday and running through Oct. 22.

At no cost, firefighters will check a house for safety hazards, and for the location and condition of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, extension cords and outlets. They will also help establish a fire escape plan.

If problems are found, they will suggest ways to prevent a fire.

"What I'm really hoping is that the firefighters and community can talk about fire prevention," said Battalion Chief Michael Hall. "This is strictly friendly -- like a neighbor checking your house."

Currently, the Fire Department inspects businesses, and violations are issued when hazards are found. But this 20-minute home inspection service aims to make the public take more precautions.

For example, a common -- but often unrecognized -- problem, is the visibility of house numbers from the street for firefighters, paramedics of police officers answering a call for help.

"A lot of times we can't find the house number, especially at night, when all the houses look all the same," Chief Hall said.

Across the country, residential fires cause about 4,500 deaths and $3.4 billion in property damage each year, according to county Fire Marshal Robert Ray.

Some of the leading causes of home fires are careless cooking and smoking, faulty space heaters and children playing with matches.

For more information about home inspections, South County residents may contact their local stations: Avalon Shores, 867-3141; Deale, 867-1350; Edgewater, 956-3100; Galesville, 867-1521; Harwood/Lothian, 867-7755; Parole, 266-8066; and Riva, 956-2910.

All other county residents may call the fire marshal's office at 787-1610 to arrange for an inspection.

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