Local agencies join forces to host Home Safety Day

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   An event bringing together local public safety agencies will seek to educate the public about keeping citizens and their homes safe from preventable disasters.
   The Carter County American Red Cross will host Home Safety Day on Saturday, May 3, at the Elizabethton Boys & Girls Club on Hudson Drive.
   "This is the first time we've done an event like this so we are excited to have this opportunity to educate the public," said Kimberly Fisk, director of the county's Red Cross office.
   Public safety officials will be on hand to advise citizens on fire safety and prevention, family disaster preparedness, and injury prevention around the home.
   According to the nonprofit lobby organization, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that a fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 60 seconds -- a residential fire occurs every 80 seconds.
   Public fire departments responded to more than 1.7 million fires in 2001 -- an increase of 1.6 percent from the previous year. Of that number, 521,500 fires occurred in structures, representing an increase of 3.2 percent over 2002, according to the Association.
   NFPA reports that 3,110 civilians were killed and over 15,575 were injured by fires at residential properties during 2001. Those numbers exclude the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
   Fisk said her office had assisted families in approximately nine residential fires that had occurred in the county thus far in 2003.
   Home Safety Day will also include tips from local law enforcement agencies on "burglar-proofing" homes and organizing neighborhood watches to counteract property crime.
   The event is being co-sponsored by several local and regional agencies including: The Elizabethton Fire and Police Departments, Carter County Sheriff's Department, Carter County Firefighters Association, Carter County Rescue Squad, Carter County Health Department, University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Office and the Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council.
   The RC&D conducts hazardous household waste picks in Northeast Tennessee each year. RC&D is scheduled to collect household waste on Sept. 13, 2003 in Carter, Johnson and Sullivan counties.
   Fisk also said Wal-Mart had donated 100 smoke alarms to be given to families at the event based on their needs. Families can contact the Red Cross office at 542-2833 to inquire if they qualify to receive a smoke alarm.