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Fire Inspectors Offer Free Safety Inspections

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A extension cord can short out and catch on fire.
FAYETTEVILLE — Most people don't realize fire departments will inspect your home for nocharge. In Fayetteville, only a handful of inspections have been done inthe last two years. Although they can't force people to fix the problemsthey find, they almost always find something that could make a home safer.

Home sweet home. The Walkers feel safe there. But like many homes, ithas hidden dangers Richard and his wife, Paige, didn't know were there.The fire department came into their home and did what's known as acourtesy inspection, looking for any type of fire hazard.

Extension cords are a common hazard. Officials recommend trading inextension cords for surge protectors.

Inspections are free, but few people take advantage of them. Theinspection on the Walker home was only the third one Fayettevillefirefigher Roger Sullivan has performed in five years. Each inspectionhe's done has yielded helpful tips.

Sullivan says people often overlook the small things like having windowsthat open easily, or getting their fireplaces cleaned out before eachwinter. Many even overlook the smoke detectors.

Even thought the Walker's home was relatively safe, the things theylearned from the inspection will make it even safer.

There are plenty of simple ways to make your home safer, especially if youhave a gas fireplace or heater in your home. Firefighters say you shouldhave a carbon monoxide detector, even if you have to mount it next to yoursmoke detector.

They also say few people have a written evacuation plan. That'sespecially important for families with children.

Photographer:Mike Joyner