A fire can engulf a home in a matter of minutes. It can also kill the people inside the house, especially if they are not aware of what is happening within an adequate amount of time. More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 22,000 are injured according to the National Fire Protection Association. Many of them might be alive today if they had a working smoke detector installed in their home. Georgians are particularly vulnerable because they live in the “Burn Belt,” an area of southern states where residents have an increased risk of residential fire-related injuries compared to other regions of the country. Based on estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics, residents of southern states have a 30 percent higher risk of dying from fire than the overall U.S. population. Despite progress in narrowing the gap between Georgia and the U.S. rate Georgia still has the sixth worse age adjusted fire death among states with an average 130 deaths per years. In 88 percent of Georgia’s fire deaths, there was not a functioning smoke alarm in the structure.
The Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health works with fire departments to reduce fire deaths. The Division of Public Health provides free long-life smoke detectors, information materials and prevention materials to fire departments. The Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant funds have supplemented Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Residential Fire Injury Prevention funds to provide these fire injury prevention services to what are considered high-risk homes – homes occupied by lower income families, elderly, young children and manufactured housing. The Covington Fire Department has partnered with the Division of Public Health to provide free smoke detectors and prevention materials to these high risk populations and homes. In order to participate in the program residents must fill out a voluntary participation agreement release form and provide basic resident information. The information collected from the form will be used to track prevention successes with the program. The Covington Fire Department will install the smoke detectors and provide prevention materials to the participants free of charge. The citizens of Covington can contact the Covington Fire Department at (770) 385-2100 to participate in the Smoke Detector Program. The citizen’s of Covington can reduce their chance of dying in a fire by one-half by installing a smoke detector.