- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Shallotte Fire Chief Paul Dunwell always says one of the main goals of the department is to reduce the number of fires in the district by educating the public about fire safety and having the proper preventive measures in place.
Dunwell, fire marshal Andrew Thompson, members of the Shallotte Fire Corps, the department’s volunteers, as well as the paid firefighters are always planning new ways to educate the public, especially through their “fire and life safety education” initiatives.
Because of that commitment, the Shallotte department recently received a Life Safety Achievement Award for 2007 by the Residential Fire Safety Institute (RSFI) for having no lives lost to fire that year.
This is the second year the department has received this award, and it is one of 745 departments to be so honored.
For 15 years, the Life Safety Achievement Award has recognized the local fire prevention activities that contributed to reducing the number of lives lost in residential fires, according to the RSFI.
Although residential fires in the U.S. account for only 20 percent of all fires, they result in 80 percent of fire deaths. The RSFI’s goal is to reduce that number.
A total of 745 fire departments received the 2007 award.
“Experience tells us that fire prevention activity and public education can significantly reduce life and property loss from residential fires,” said RSFI Director Roy L. Marshall.
“Prevention and education are very cost-effective compared to the traditional approach of relying on fire suppression. The Life Safety Achievement Award recognizes fire departments for their fire prevention efforts and encourages them to continually improve those efforts.”
The RFSI is a public interest group whose mission is to reduce residential fire deaths and injuries. The RSFI advocates the use of residential fire sprinklers, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and teaching people fire-safe behavior.
Last year, the department received a grant to install smoke alarms in below-average income homes, and through its education program, the department also teaches people how to safely and effectively use fire extinguishers and plan escape routes.
The department also participates in the federal “Remembering When” program to assist people in retirement homes and assisted living facilities during fire emergencies.
Shallotte firefighters also lead “learn not to burn” programs in schools to teach young people about staying safe.
Kudos to Dunwell and his staff and volunteers for their hours of training and hard work and their dedication to keeping the town safe.
They have the numbers—and the awards—to prove it.