The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday July 5th

Safety focus of the Fire Prevention Week in Chapel Hill

Domino’s is preparing hot boxes of pizza today for residents whose homes are most prepared for a fire.

As part of Fire Prevention Week, Chapel Hill Fire Department officials will partner with Domino’s Pizza delivery people to incentivize properly functioning smoke alarms.

“We will have pizza delivery men riding with us while we check smoke alarms,” said Chapel Hill Fire Marshal Matt Lawrence. “If their smoke alarm is working, the pizza will be free.”

He said there will also be equipment to install fire alarms in homes where alarms are not working. The pizzas and equipment underline this year’s theme, which focuses on the importance of smoke alarms. The week of events began Sunday with a presentation by the fire department at Festifall on Franklin Street.

In addition to Domino’s Pizza, the fire department is teaming with the local chapter of the American Red Cross to conclude the week’s activities this weekend with the Fire Safety Fair.

Lawrence said the purpose of this year’s fair is to remind the community that functional fire alarms can be the difference between a short and lengthy response time.

Tim Bothe, director of Emergency Services for the Central N.C. chapter of the Red Cross, said the American Red Cross annually provides support services for victims of 150 fires within the chapter’s jurisdiction. Ninety-seven percent of those are house fires, he said, adding that there are more than 70,000 house fires across the country each year.

“We help make immediate disaster call needs, and those can be shelter, food, clothing and health needs, as well as referrals to other agencies,” he said.

And preparation is the most important lesson people can take from the week, Bothe said.

“By learning more about fire safety and fire prevention, they can help mitigate with house fires,” he said. “We hope that people have an evacuation route, and learn how to extinguish fires.”

Bothe said education is key to preventing fires and is especially important as temperatures grow colder.

“Different heat sources are used, and fires can start from chimneys that haven’t been cleaned out,” he said.

Victoria Haskell said the purpose of Fire Prevention Week is to raise community awareness through the Domino’s Pizza partnership and programs at public schools nationwide.

She said it’s important for people to realize that they can be proactive and prevent loss of life from fires by updating fire alarms every 10 years.

Lawrence said the issue of fire prevention must be looked into as long as fires continue.

“We’re still having fires in Chapel Hill and nationally.”

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