Fires spark safety discussion

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

Suffolk has had 14 structure fires since January, and after every one, Suffolk Fire & Rescue has hit the streets with its Fire Safety Blitz program.

Flyers, postcards, rulers and other items containing information about fire safety are distributed within a two-block radius of the fire quickly after it happens. The Fire and Rescue team also spends time talking to nearby residents about fire safety.

“We strike while the iron is hot,” said Deputy Chief Ted Adams of Suffolk Fire and Rescue. “They check smoke detectors and talk to them about fire safety. If they aren’t home, they leave a door hanger that lets them know they can call us to get more information.”

Email newsletter signup

The fire safety program typically distributes information to 20 to 25 houses. If an incident occurs in a more rural part of town, there will be fewer items distributed.

“If you’re in a rural area and there’s a house every couple of miles, we don’t get too many,” Adams said.

The Fire Safety Blitz program is fairly new to Suffolk. It was implemented about three years ago by Fire Chief Cedric Scott. The program was an idea he brought with him when he came to Suffolk, according to Adams.

There’s no way to know if the program has helped prevent a fire, but the idea is that it can’t hurt.

“We think it falls in line with the community risk reduction program. We can’t go out and say that we prevented a fire with this information, but we are providing the best resources with this information,” said Adams.

Along with the fire blitz, the department provides other resources and programs to help educate residents about preventing fires.

Suffolk Fire & Rescue held its first Citizens’ Fire and Rescue Academy this fall, consisting of five weeks of learning the ropes of fire and rescue.

“They get to do everything and see everything that we do. They can hold a hose and fire extinguishers. They even get CPR certified,” Adams said.

The department is currently considering how often it will offer the Citizens’ Academy in the future.