CONYERS -- Firefighters with the Rockdale County Fire and Rescue Department will be canvassing the Pinedale Circle neighborhood Thursday evening, giving out smoke detectors and installing them if needed. The neighborhood effort will begin at 5 p.m.
The project comes in the wake of a tragic fire last Tuesday that killed four siblings at a Pinedale Circle duplex. The children's mother, Reeba Glass, grandmother and 6-year-old brother were able to escape. Glass was burned over 40 percent of her body and remains hospitalized at Grady Memorial Hospital. Investigators said last week that the fire was started by the 6-year-old playing with a lighter.
A memorial service for the four children is set for Saturday, Jan. 19, 11 a.m. at Springfield Baptist Church on Iris Drive.
Michael Morris, public information officer for Rockdale Fire and Rescue, said firefighters will attempt to make contact with residents of roughly 200 homes Thursday evening to offer smoke detectors and fire safety information. He said firefighters will check smoke detectors in homes to make sure they are working adequately and will provide and install smoke detectors in homes where they are needed. He said the State Fire Marshal's Office has provided 9 volt batteries to be used in the smoke detectors.
Residents were notified of the project on Tuesday when firefighters handed out informational flyers in the neighborhood.
Morris said it would be difficult to estimate in advance how many smoke detectors will be needed.
"If it's a multi-story complex, which most of these (residences) are, then they would need adequate coverage for upstairs and adequate coverage for downstairs," he said.
Morris said two or three engine companies, with three to four firefighters per engine, as well as three to four office staff members will be handing out the smoke detectors.
Morris said the smoke detector project is an ongoing effort by Rockdale Fire and Rescue.
"We've had a smoke detector installation program already set up in Rockdale, and we've been doing that for five or six years now," he said. "This isn't something new that we're doing; however, since the fire, Chief (Dan) Morgan felt like it would be in the best interest of that particular neighborhood for us to go out there and do the blitz."
All residents of Rockdale County are welcome to take advantage of the program he said. Morris said residents can request an assessment of their homes to determine how many smoke detectors are needed and where they should be installed. Firefighters will also help with the installation, he said. Anyone interested in the smoke detector program should call RCFR headquarters at 770-278-8401.
Firefighters are also available to help residents develop a fire escape plan and provide other safety information.
According to fire safety experts, working smoke alarms are the No. 1 life-saving tool when fire erupts. Following are tips on making sure that smoke alarms are optimally placed within the home and have the best chance of alerting a family:
-- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home so that when one sounds, they all sound.
-- An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm should be installed.
-- Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
-- Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance.
-- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," warning that the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
-- Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
-- Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
-- Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician.
-- If cooking fumes or steam set off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. Such a button will reduce the alarm's sensitivity for a short period of time.
-- An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.
-- Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.
-- Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices can be added to these alarms.