Home Fire Campaign saves 53 lives

By: Special to The Union Times

NORTH CHARLESTON — The Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross, Fire Safe SC, and local fire department partners announced today that 53 lives have been saved through the efforts of the Home Fire Campaign in South Carolina. Two of the lives saved were in a home on Jerome Drive in Georgetown County.

“It was very scary, but I know for a fact, if it hadn’t been for the smoke alarms, I was going back to sleep,” said Janette Washington. “[They] saved our lives. We would have been gone, honestly.”

Several months ago, firefighters from Georgetown County visited the church where Janette attends. They talked to the congregation about their ability to install free smoke alarms from the Red Cross. Janette asked for several alarms to be installed. Firefighters also talked to Janette and her son, Timothy, about having a home fire escape plan.

“Anytime we can get to a community event and talk about fire safety and smoke alarms, we’re there,” said Georgetown County Fire Chief Mack Reed.

Little did Janette know, those alarms would soon save her and her son’s lives. In April, as she was falling back asleep after storms woke her up, Janette heard the screech from those newly installed alarms.

“When I looked down the hall, all I could see was the fire coming from the ceiling,” Janette remembered.

She screamed for Timothy to wake up. The two escaped just as the power went out in their home. Red Cross disaster-trained volunteers helped the Washington family in the days after the fire by providing financial assistance and helped them replace medications ruined in the fire.

“They were fabulous. They helped us out real good,” Janette said.

Since the start of the Home Fire Campaign, more than 57,000 smoke alarms have been installed in South Carolina by Red Cross and its partners. Lives have been saved throughout the state, including in Greenville, Dalzell, North Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

“Home fires continue to be the number one disasters South Carolinians face every day,” said Louise Welch Williams, chief executive officer, Palmetto SC Region. “We are thankful to our partners who help us tremendously in our efforts to save lives and educate residents.”

To learn more about the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, visit www.redcross.org/sc. To read the more about the Washingtons go to http://redcrosssc.blogspot.com/2018/07/they-saved-our-life-georgetown-mother.html.

About The American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/SC or @RedCrossSC

About Fire Safe SC

Fire Safe South Carolina unites fire service organizations to engage influential community stakeholders; together, they support local fire departments to serve their citizens through strategic community risk reduction programs.

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Special to The Union Times