Fire, Police Departments Team Up for Safety Inspections - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/31/06

Fire, Police Departments Team Up for Safety Inspections

Fire and police officials visit Ruth Brown. Fire and police officials visit Ruth Brown.

Are your electrical outlets safe? Do you have enough room to get out of the house in case of a fire? Is your house a potential target for crime? These are all questions that every homeowner should answer. Now Savannah's fire and police departments are joining forces to help, one house at a time.

In an instant, a home can go up in flames, if you don't know where the dangers are. Officials from Savannah Fire want to help stop those fires before they start. It's all part of Operation Clean Sweep, a joint fire and police program that goes into people's living rooms to analyze the "hot spots," like one space heater they found with items left on top of it.

"It can get hot. You shouldn't have anything on or near the heater," advised Matthew Stanley with Savannah Fire and Emergency Services.

Ruth Brown's family asked for this protection walkthrough. From exposed wires and packed-out plugs to blocked exits and cluttered floors, investigators did their best to enlighten Ruth about the little things which could become big problems during a fire.

"It's very close to the lightweight shears," said Stanley of an exposed light bulb. "The light gets hot, if the window's open, the shears blow into the light and up in a short time. We need protection on this lamp."

Inspecting the bed room, Stanley noted, "If she had a fire in this bedroom, she has all those clothes. If they were to fall down then she'd be trapped in the bedroom because the door doesn't open completely."

While they can make you more comfortable, air conditioners can be a safety hazard. Criminals can take them out of the window and walk right in. You can put rose bushes or other sharp plants underneath the window to slow them down, or even oyster shells on the ground so you can hear them coming.

After the tour was done, Ruth was thankful for this potentially life-saving aid.

"It's a blessing, because I know I couldn't do it," she said. "I wanted it done, but couldn't do it."

Ruth is actually getting some help making her home fire and crime safe. She is the pilot house for Operation Clean Sweep and will be used for safety demonstrations. The Savannah police and fire departments will come to your home free of charge and look for trouble spots. Just give either department a call to find out how.

Reported by: Andrew Davis, andrewdavis@wtoc.com

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