Safety urged in fire death Safety urged in fire death

By By Melissa Cason
A Colbert County couple was killed in a fire early Thursday morning, just days after deadly fires in Kentucky and Tennessee made national headlines, proving the importance of fire education in any community.
Scott Edward McWilliams, 44, and Pamela Dawn McWilliams, 46, were killed yesterday morning in the blaze. The home is near the Colbert-Franklin line.
The winter months are busier for firefighters with heating units and electrical problems being the main cause of fires, Russellville firefighter Jody Hitt said.
"Getting the house inspected for electrical and heating problems will help prevent fires," Hitt said.
Firefighters recommend changing fuse systems in older homes to the more modern breaker system, as well as checking all heaters – especially wall heaters.
"Wall heaters have been found to be a major contributor of house fires," Hitt said.
The Russellville Fire Department is trying to focus on fire prevention and community education when they are not busy fighting fires.
The department has several programs to help keep the community informed about fire safety.
"We have the Fire Safety House that teaches young children the basics about getting out of a house that's on fire," Hitt said.
Smoke detectors are essential to keep your family protected from fires. But, it's also important to check the battery in them every six months, and to replace them when needed so that they will work in the event of a fire.
"People need to realize that if you have smoke you have a fire, and everyone needs to get out of the house immediately," Fire Chief Joe Mansell said.
Planning ahead is also an essential tool for families in case of a fire.
Each household should hold fire drills and discuss the best way to get out, and where to meet once they are out of the house.
"It's important to remember to stay away from the road and the house once your are out of the house," firefighter Rhett Bradford said. "We're driving fast to get there and it's important that everyone is our of the way."
With all the publicity about the fire deaths lately, the Russellville Fire Department encourages everyone to become aware of fire hazards at home, and to remember that once you are out never return to a burning building.

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