Greensboro Fire Department using social media to stress importance of smoke detectors

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Yellow crime tape was still wrapped around an apartment at the complex at 3100 Summit Avenue near Cone Boulevard Monday.

It’s the apartment, which faces Summit Avenue, where Saturday’s fire happened. It left behind extensive damage inside and killed five young children.

It’s a tragedy that has now inspired the Greensboro Fire Department to educate more people about the importance of smoke alarms.

“So, that's why we are asking everyone in the community to help us,” Fire Marshal Timothy Henshaw said. “You've got to have a working smoke alarm in your home. You are 50 percent more likely to survive. Fires are so fast these days they are spreading rapidly.”

Henshaw says that Monday the department rolled out this social media campaign called #Hearthealarm.

“We need you to go out and check and make sure that you are safe, your friends are safe and your community members are safe. We want to hear back from you,” he said.

The campaign encourages people to check their smoke alarms to make sure that they are working.

Then Greensboro Fire Department says you post or tweet the hashtag to let firefighters know what you are noticing.

Investigators said during Monday afternoon’s news conference that the smoke alarm during Saturday’s fire was not working.

“People tell me all of the time that, 'I know my way out. I know my house.' Even in a house that you live in and when that smoke is to the floor, the toxic gases are so hot. They become super-heated. You become unaware of what's going on,” Henshaw said.

Greensboro firefighters install about 1,000 smoke alarms each year. They also teach people coming from different areas about what to do.

“You need to be taught about a smoke alarm. The same with a seat belt,” Henshaw said.

He says the department is moving to the new 10-year battery alarm that are attached to it so people can't take the battery out.

If you have any questions, you are encouraged you to call (336) 373-ALRM.