Atlanta, GA – The annual swearing in ceremony for Fire Marshals and Fire Inspectors at the Georgia State Capitol took on new meaning this year for Walker County Fire Marshal Paul Linder. The State Fire Marshal’s Office displays shoes on the Capitol steps to represent the lives lost to fire during the previous year. This time, five of those pairs of shoes were from Walker County, including one pair representing a 12-year old girl.
Fire Marshal Linder wondered how many of those fatalities might have been prevented by working smoke alarms. The State Fire Marshal’s Office held the shocking answer. In 2018, there were 83 fatal house fires across Georgia. Only four of the 83 fatal fires had working smoke alarms.
Walker County Fire Rescue recently doubled its efforts to promote its free smoke alarm program with public service announcements, a billboard and neighborhood installation blitz along Dry Valley Road, where four of the five local fatalities occurred in 2018. Only 21 smoke alarms were installed in 2017. In 2018, the number increased to 228. One month into 2019 and nearly 90 smoke alarms have already been installed.
Linder hopes one day when he attends the swearing in ceremony, there won’t be any shoes on the Capitol steps. Do your part by calling 706-539-1255 and requesting a free smoke alarm installation or by sharing this information with friends and loved ones.
Also in attendance from Walker County to be sworn in was Jeffrey Roerdink, our new Fire Inspector. Roerdink recertified through the Georgia Fire Academy this month.