EFD schedules fire safety events

By Nicole Daughhetee
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — In honor of October’s Fire Prevention and Safety Awareness Month, the Easley Fire Department (EFD), headed by Chief Butch Womack, has a few programs of note taking place throughout the month.

Comprised of 30 full-time personnel, 30 volunteer personnel, four chaplains, 10 explorers, and two support personnel, the EFD operates out of three stations and an administrative office.

The department is responsible for providing fire protection for 75 square miles, including the city of Easley and the Easley Fire District.
The fire department will hold an open house this Thursday, Oct. 11, from 5:11-8 p.m. at Fire Station No. 2, located at 180 Glenwood Road in Easley.

John Cessarich of WYFF News 4 will be reporting live from the event. There will be appearances by Freddie the Fire Cat, Sparky the Fire Dog, Sparky the Robot and Tony, the Easley Police Department drug dog.
EFD’s Open House presents a great opportunity to learn about 911, forestry, seat-belt safety, car seats, boating/water safety, bike safety, smoke alarms and more. Everyone in the Easley community is welcome to attend this event.

This Saturday, Oct. 13, Easley firefighters will conduct their annual boot drive to raise money for the families of burn victims. For many years now, the EFD has had members stand at different intersections in Easley collecting money in their firefighter boots.

All of the money collected goes to support the Jeff Chavis House, associated with the Joseph M. Steel Burn Center in Augusta, Ga. The Chavis House, similar to Ronald MacDonald Houses, provides a place for families to stay while they are visiting and helping to care for loved ones who have suffered burns as the result of a fire or accident involving fire.
Womack said that Easley has expanded its boot drive program this year.
“Dacusville and Liberty Fire Departments have joined us this year for the boot drive to raise money,” he said. “So has the Central Fire Department, although their collection day will be different from ours.”
Members of the Dacusville Fire Department will be collecting money at the intersection of Hwy 135 and 183 this Saturday, while members of the EFD will be located at the intersection of Main and Pendleton Streets and Powdersville Road and Hwy 123.

“Collections will start at 9 a.m. and go until about 2 p.m.,” said Womack. “Our guys will take a quick break and then be back out there until 7 p.m. Saturday night.”

Finally, EFD’s smoke detector campaign will begin next Monday, Oct. 15, and run through Oct. 26.

By Nicole Daughhetee
Staff Reporter

Each year for this event, the EFD chooses areas within the Easley community to visit. Firefighters will visit people’s homes and check their smoke detectors for free. Residents who do not have smoke detectors, or are in need of batteries for their smoke detectors, will be provided with these free of charge.

Womack said that while his department cannot cover the entire city of Easley, they are certainly diligent to hit as many homes as possible in the areas they visit.

“We tend to select older areas of town because many of the homes were built before fire codes changed,” said Womack. “Almost all of the newly built homes have built in smoke detector systems and are expected to be up to code. But we still check on those homes too.”
Womack also noted that the EFD can only install smoke detectors or replace batteries in homes that are owned. People living in a rental home should contact their landlord for issues concerning their smoke detectors. Pursuant to state law, landlords are required to provide working smoke detectors to their tenants.

The most important aspect of the smoke detector campaign, according to Womack, is having the presence of the fire department in neighborhoods.

“Being visible is so important,” he said. “When people see our trucks, they come out and ask questions. They ask questions and then we can give them lots of information.”

Womack and the Easley Fire Department are also aware of those in the community who are living on fixed or low incomes and cannot afford smoke detectors. As a solution to this problem, the EFD continues an aggressive aluminum can program where they collect aluminum cans and use 100 percent of the proceeds to purchase smoke detectors and batteries for those individuals and families who cannot afford them.
EFD Station 1 on Pendleton Street and Station 3 on Powdersville Road have donation bins where anyone can bring aluminum cans to support the program.

“Smoke detectors really do save lives,” said Womack. “I say all the time $5 saves $50,000.”

Easley residents who have concerns about their smoke detectors or who would like for the EFD to visit their homes can schedule a free appointment by calling the non-emergency number at (864) 855-8950.