Last updated: April 25. 2014 5:57PM - 1294 Views
By - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

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Mount Airy firemen will be out in force at a local neighborhood on Monday through Wednesday — not to battle a blaze, but hopefully keep any from occurring.

Members of the city fire department plan to go door to door at homes on Worth Street, from Rockford to South Main streets, as part of a smoke-detector initiative. This canvassing will involve providing free detectors to residences lacking them, or batteries at locations where the devices are inoperable due to power supplies being exhausted.

The visits will occur from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, according to Fire Chief Zane Poindexter.

“It’s completely voluntary,” Poindexter said of Worth Street residents’ participation in the program, which is resulting from grants the municipality applied for last September. Applications were submitted to the state fire marshal’s office for smoke detectors and to Energizer Corp. for batteries.

More than 50 detectors were allocated to the city along with a quantity of batteries, Poindexter said.

This coincided with plans to conduct safety sweeps in parts of town deemed as having a high risk for fires, including the section of Worth Street where the firemen will visit Monday. They will be checking detectors at homes on both sides of the street.

“I think there are four or five more (areas) that we’re going to target,” the fire chief said Friday of other locations in the city, “that is, if the smoke detectors are available.”

The high-risk neighborhoods were identified through a third-party assessment that was the first of its kind in Mount Airy, Poindexter has said. The risk assessment was led by Dr. Cretson Dalmadge, an associate professor of management information systems at Winston-Salem State University.

The fire chief said it had been “highly recommended” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which supplied all but $1,500 of the cost for the $30,015 study.

WSSU used fire-call data from the county’s emergency dispatch center to help chart locations, and certain age groups, which have a higher risk than others.

Poindexter announced the upcoming home visits on Worth Street to alert residents to what will be happening, and so those who are interested in the detector program can be home during the visitation periods on Monday through Wednesday.

In addition to inspecting detectors, fire personnel will check other things in a home to identify potential hazards. “We’ll look at whatever the residents want,” Poindexter said of the upcoming field contacts.

He added that a fire truck from the Rockford Street station will be used during the canvassing on Worth Street, in order to be “noticeable” in the neighborhood.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

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