Members of the Mount Airy Fire Department will be out in force next week — not to battle a blaze or answer medical calls, but to conduct a smoke detector campaign in a local neighborhood.
City fire personnel will canvass an area that includes Sunset Drive, Hillcrest Drive, Newsome Street and Culbert Street.
They plan to go door to door on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. each day.
Fire department members will be checking homes for the presence of working smoke detectors, installing new ones where needed at no charge to residents.
The upcoming fall fire-prevention effort is part of a series by the department to install smoke alarms in neighborhoods deemed to be at high risk.
In selecting the locations for smoke detector distributions, it relies on information from the Surry County 911 center to pinpoint areas where fires have been more prevalent, and the findings of a risk assessment conducted around 2011.
A similar campaign was held in June in the area of Woodruff, Kyle and Frank streets.
“We usually average anywhere from 90 to 100 installations for a canvas,” Fire Chief Zane Poindexter said of the smoke alarm campaigns in the various neighborhoods. The devices are allocated to Mount Airy by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
While next week’s smoke alarm effort is the latest in a series, one aspect sets it apart from other campaigns.
It involves the assistance of local students to help get out the word regarding the detector distribution.
“We’ve partnered with B.H. Tharrington Primary School,” Poindexter explained. “They made us some door hangers.”
The door hangers were decorated by student leaders at the school, which is located on Culbert Street in the area targeted next week. The hangers feature drawings of a fire truck and fire station and a message informing recipients of the smoke alarm canvass.
Plans called for the colorful hangers to be placed on the doors of homes in the areas where the campaign will occur so residents can be aware of the effort.
“It’s a neat little thing they’ve done,” Poindexter said, which also promotes positive interaction between the school, community and fire department in an effort to promote public safety.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.