HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – When a fire tore through a Carolina Forest apartment building last week, people were jumping off their balconies to save themselves, and that sparked a new effort by the Horry County Fire Rescue. 

Captain Mark Nugent with the Horry County Fire Rescue said he is going to work with residents in the Windsor Green neighborhood on teaching them how to use escape ladders as an alternative to jumping from their balcony. Nugent said it’s a topic people don’t usually think about until there is a fire, but he wants to take advantage of the opportunity to teach people how to prepare just in case. 

“It’s one of those small investments that you hope you never have to use, but if you need it, it’s there,” said Nugent. “It’s a good means for getting out of that second and third floor of your home.” 

Windsor Green resident, Jerry Bloom, is a boardmember for the community and he’s also working with Nugent to get the training. He said many people are on high alert since the fire and they want to take any precaution necessary. 

“They’re concerned that if this should ever happen again, they need to have a way out as opposed to jumping like the residents had to do in this fire,” said Bloom. “Particularly people on this side who live on the second and third floors because of the way the buildings were built under the code at the time.” Bloom said because some buildings don’t have a second exit, the training on escape ladders will be beneficial in preventing people from getting hurt while escaping a fire. 

Bloom said they are working out the final details with Horry County Fire Rescue and local home stores to purchase the escape ladders, but they are looking to have the training “as soon as possible.” Bloom also said they have discussed looking at the cost to put stairs on the sides of buildings that only have one exit. 

Nugent said this training is not just for people living in apartments. He said anyone living in a single-family home with two or three stories should look into getting an escape ladder as well. Nugent said if you have an organization, community group or neighborhood that would like to get fire safety training, visit horrycountyfirerescue.com and click on the “Public Education” tab.