MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — October is Fire Safety Month, and according to the National Fire Protection Association, every 23 seconds a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation.
With that in mind, Myrtle Beach fire officials say this month is all about informing the public and keeping the community safe.
“Most times when fires happen, it’s something preventable, something we can do to make sure it doesn’t happen, but sometimes it’s just out of our control,” Myrtle Beach Fire Capt. Jonathan Evans said.
According to the NFPA, 74% of all fire deaths were caused by home fires, with the No. 1 cause being unattended cooking.
“We do have a lot of cooking-type fires, pots on the stove, I would say more than anything,” Evans said. “They don’t usually get much past the stove, but even still they could, and we don’t want that to happen.”
This year’s theme for the NFPA is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety,” a way to better educate the public on smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Evans said smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years, while batteries should be changed at least once a year.
“A lot of times smoke alarms, nowadays, are hard-wired so they’re running off the electrical in your home,” Evans said. “But that battery is a backup in case something happens. So if you lose power or whatever else, you want that to be working for you,”
This year, the Myrtle Beach Fire Department is seeing a slight increase in structure fires compared with last year. In 2020, the department responded to 109 fires. This year, they’re at 116 and counting.
“We just have to kind of take those steps to be a little more careful to make sure our smoke alarms are working, if we have a fire extinguisher, knowing where it is, knowing that it’s good and knowing how to use it,” Evans said.