Fire Department, Red Cross to spread word about fire safety
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.