There was one main message that Lt. Carlton Bradley wanted to depart to the 20 representatives from local apartment complexes at a class on fire safety Thursday. “The biggest thing I want y’all to take away from this is to be safe and make your tenants safe,” said the Augusta Fire Department official, who led the two-hour class.
Some of the topics were obvious, but making sure items such as emergency exit signs, fire extinguishers and smoke alarms are up to code can be more complicated. Different buildings can come with different requirements.
This is the second year the Apartment Association of Greater Augusta has teamed up with the fire department for the training course. Apartment managers and maintenance technicians were invited to attend.
Since the beginning of 2012, there have been 97 fires in multifamily dwellings in Richmond County, according to Bradley. He said the number is alarming not only because of the many families who can be affected, but also because of how fast
fires between interconnected homes can spread.
On average, a fire doubles in size every 30 seconds. Considering upgrades to existing fire safety technology, Bradley asked the crowd to imagine their family members living in the homes.
“Preventative maintenance on apartment communities is a lot cheaper than having to redo after a fire,” said Jaime Morgan, the associate executive of the apartment association.
Bradley also discussed basic fire-prevention safety and warned those at the meeting that such things as dryer lint, cooking or grease fires, and patio grills are common sources of flames. Most of the participants were familiar with those dangers but were not as familiar with household items that can cause flames.
One of the participants was asked to read the warning label on a can of roach spray. She and everyone else was surprised to learn the manufacturer suggested turning off all possible ignition sources, including refrigerators and thermostats, before using the product.
Bradley said he has seen a household bug killer lead to a fire before.
He added WD-40 and plug-in air fresheners to the danger list.
“Most people never read the warning label,” he said. He urged participants to spread the safety message to their tenants.
Morgan said she hopes to see the program return every year.
“I think it’s very beneficial, and I pick up some tips too,” she said.