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Fire Depart­ment, Red Cross to spread word about fire safety

The Progress-Index Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­port

The Peters­burg Depart­ment of Fire, Res­cue and Emer­gency Ser­vices and the Amer­i­can Red Cross will go door-to-door to spread in­for­ma­tion about fire safety to city res­i­dents on Satur­day, May 20.

PETERS­BURG — The Peters­burg Depart­ment of Fire, Res­cue and Emer­gency Ser­vices is team­ing up with the Amer­i­can Red Cross to spread the word about fire safety to city res­i­dents.

Vol­un­teers from the fire depart­ment and the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion will be fan­ning out in two ar­eas of the city on Satur­day, May 20, to go door-to-door and talk with res­i­dents about fire safety, dis­trib­ute safety in­for­ma­tion and in­stall smoke alarms.

"We have an op­por­tu­nity to make a change in our com­mu­nity in our part­ner­ship with the Amer­i­can Red Cross," said In­terim Fire Chief Brian Stur­di­vant in a press re­lease. "We’re com­mit­ted to work­ing to­gether to make a dent in home fire deaths and in­juries."

The Red Cross pro­vides food, shel­ter and other ser­vices to peo­ple af­fected by home and apart­ment fires. Ac­cord­ing to the non­profit's Vir­ginia Cap­i­tal Chap­ter, the or­ga­ni­za­tion re­sponds to about 66,000 dis­as­ters across the coun­try ev­ery year, and more than 90 per­cent are fire-re­lated.

In Vir­ginia, 76 peo­ple died as a re­sult of "ac­ci­den­tal ex­po­sure to smoke, fire and flames" in 2013, the most re­cent year for which fig­ures are avail­able, ac­cord­ing to the Vir­ginia Depart­ment of Health. Of those deaths, 62 oc­curred in the vic­tims' homes.

"Work­ing smoke alarms cut the risk of dy­ing in home fires by half," noted Bat­tal­ion Chief Kevin Michalek. "As a part of our work to pre­vent, pre­pare for and re­spond to emer­gen­cies, the Red Cross and its part­ners are ed­u­cat­ing the com­mu­nity and pro­vid­ing vi­tal in­for­ma­tion on fire safety and the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing work­ing smoke alarms."

The vol­un­teers will meet at the Peters­burg Red Cross of­fice at 22 W. Wash­ing­ton Street at 8:30 a.m. In the morn­ing, they'll be knock­ing on doors in the Bland­ford area, in­clud­ing East Bank Street, Burch Street, Not­toway Street, Sixth Street and Sev­enth Street. In the af­ter­noon, they'll move on to East Peters­burg, in­clud­ing the White­hill Farm and Glen Park neigh­bor­hoods along Rich­mond Av­enue and White­hill Drive.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call the Red Cross at (804) 731-5682.

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