BY: CPL Avery Hewitt with 2LT Brad E. Bailey
CHESTER COUNTY, SC – Members of the South Carolina State Guard’s (SCSG) 1st Battalion will be teaming up with the American Red Cross and a local area Volunteer Fire Department in Chester County on July 28th to help install smoke detectors in roughly 35 residential homes in Chester County. According to SCSG Command Sergeant Major Wesley Snipes, the detectors are free to all residents as part of the Home Fire Campaign run by the Red Cross. The goal of the Red Cross and its partners is to keep families in South Carolina safe from home fires.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that half of home fire deaths result from fires reported at night between 11PM and 7AM when most people are asleep. Home smoke alarms can alert people to a fire before it spreads, giving everyone enough time to get out.
Snipes, who also serves as a volunteer firefighter/medic, says that smoke detectors should be in every home across the State. “I see the impact of what happens without the proper smoke detectors in residential structures, and programs like this help save lives.”
On July 28th, State Guard personnel will undergo training to be certified at installing smoke detectors. Participants will be split into teams of four to six people to get the job done. During the visit, team members will install free smoke alarms, educate residents with home fire safety, and develop a good evacuation route in the event of a fire.
SCSG personnel frequently collaborate with first responders and the National Guard during emergencies. All Guard personnel are required to undergo training through the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program and drill monthly with their home units. According to Snipes, being able to support the community proactively is what it’s all about. “Being a member of the South Carolina State Guard is about supporting our communities, and we are dedicated doing these type things for our State.”
If you are interested in volunteering to serve with the South Carolina State Guard, visit us online at www.sg.sc.gov.