Each year, almost 3,000 people die in home fires in the United States.
The Bennettsville Fire Department has been selected to participate in a fire prevention initiative to educate young children and to help bring those numbers down.
Marlboro County School District was identified by the South Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal as one of five districts in the state that present the highest risk for children being injured or perishing in a house fire. The other districts are located in Lee, Fairfield, Clarendon, and Bamberg.
Bennettsville Fire Chief James Jackson III said the Sound Off curriculum is aimed at second and third graders at Bennettsville Primary and Intermediate Schools.
"If it works well, we hope to branch out to other schools for second and third graders," he said.
The kick off for the program will be in February or March.
The Sound Off curriculum will include three activities of having students/families test their home smoke alarms, check for various dangers (heaters, candles) and creating a home fire escape plan.
Jackson said the program will also provide free smoke alarms to families who need them. Alarms for the hearing impaired will be available.
"I'm excited as fire chief that our schools were selected," he said. "This program will be the key."
The program is made possible through a grant to the Michigan Public Health Institute from DHS/FEMA's Grant Program Directorate and the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program-- Fire Prevention and Safety Grants.
For more information, contact the Bennettsville Fire Department at 843-479-9001, ext. 321.