Volunteers walk around Roanoke, teaching fire safety

ROANOKE, Va. – With dropping temperatures and wintry weather fast approaching, firefighters warn that some steps people take to stay warm can actually be dangerous.

Across Roanoke Valley alone, there have been several house fires in the last month.

This has led some courageous and kind people to take to the streets in an attempt to keep people safe and prevent tragedies.

Dozens of volunteers set out Monday in Northwest Roanoke to teach people about fire safety, knocking on more than a hundred doors to hand out batteries for smoke detectors, as well as pamphlets containing fire safety information.

The volunteers consisted of police officers, firefighters, American Red Cross workers and volunteers from the organization Hope Worldwide.

"I think overall people are grateful to have the smoke detectors, to have the education so that they can prepare their families," said Jennifer Dudding, the Roanoke chapter director of Hope Worldwide.

Though they may have been lacking the proper information and protection to avoid a house fire, residents of the neighborhood are well aware of just how dangerous fires can be.

This past November, just down the street from Monday's canvass, a house fire sent 11 people to the hospital. Luckily, everyone made it out with non-life-threatening injuries.

Sadly, fire officials say they have recently seen a lot of homes without working smoke alarms.

The simple device is easy to overlook, but it can save lives and valuable time in the event of a fire. 
Officials say that you only have about two minutes to get outside and that working smoke alarms can give you as much time as possible to escape a burning home.

Monday's volunteers hope their efforts will help keep everyone safe this winter, but for volunteer David Young, this issue is personal.

"I know me personally, I have a sister-in-law that passed away in a fire in the winter so it's important to me just for the simple fact that people need to be aware of this because it's lives that matter in the end," said Young.

Residents without smoke alarms can obtain one for free from the Roanoke Fire-EMS or the American Red Cross.