Firefighters in Lowcountry stressing importance of fire safety - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Firefighters in Lowcountry stressing importance of fire safety

BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) -

It's been a busy past few days for firefighters in the Lowcountry, battling several residential fires in Bluffton including an apartment complex fire that left 17 displaced. 

We spoke with officials about the rising number of calls they're seeing and what you can do to protect yourself and your home from becoming a part of the alarming statistics. 

South Carolina is a national leader in fire death. They've already lost 40 people to fire-related incidents this year. That's nearly double what the number has been over the last five years. 

Last Thursday, the Bluffton Township Fire District responded to an apartment fire at the Lakes at Edgewater complex, reporting heavy smoke and flames at the apartment building. While the investigation continues, the cause is still undetermined. Firefighters are urging you to make sure you are prepared if it were to happen at your home. They stress the importance of having a plan in place to make sure everyone knows two ways to get out of every room. Have a meeting place outside of your home and make sure everyone knows how to notify firefighters if you can't get out - waving and throwing objects outside of windows so they can easily spot you and help you get out. 

"We must not allow ourselves to be so complacent that we ignore it. Take a moment as often as you can remember, every time you see a firetruck, every time you see something on the news that reminds you of fire safety. Just look around your house. Again, make sure those smoke alarms work. Purchase a fire extinguisher, make sure it's mounted in the right place in your home," said Captain Lee Levesque, Bluffton Township Fire District. 

Officials with the Bluffton Fire District want to stress the importance of making sure you and your family have a safety plan in place at home. 

They say they transition between cooler and warmer temperatures can overwork heating and air conditioning systems and cause a potential fire danger, along with several other activities that become more popular as we head into summer.

“Cooking outside, bonfire season is upon us. Again, that weather is kind of cold some nights and warm others, and outside fires are absolutely a tradition, if you will, in the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire. Just take those moments to make sure it’s clear all the way around. Make sure you’ve got a hose present. Make sure you’ve got a phone present. If anything gets out of hand, by all means, dial 911. Get help coming early,” said Capt. Levesque.

Officials with the department are urging everyone to make sure that your homes are properly protected, again with those working smoke detectors. They say you can always give them a call out here in Bluffton. They’d be happy to come out and install those detectors and change the batteries on existing ones for you.

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