Fewer Virginians are dying in home fires. In fact, the number of deaths dropped 27 percent just in the past year, and it's not that the number of fires in the Commonwealth went down.
Officials are attributing the drop to campaigns promoting smoke detectors in homes across the state.
"Smoke detectors are pretty much the first line of defense for any homeowner," says Capt. Allen Saum, Waynesboro Fire Department. "Get out of the house, dial 911 at a neighbor's house, and stay out, and then let us do our job."
He says smoke detectors don't stop fires, but they do save lives.
"Most of the time people don't die from burns. They die from smoke inhalation, which gets worse every year because of the materials that our furniture and draperies and things are made of," says Saum.
Such was the case during two fires in Augusta County last year: one in Verona and the other in Lyndhurst.
"We would recommend that there's one on every floor and then we have at least one close to every bedroom," says Saum. It doesn't take much, and your actions could save lives.
Even if you do have a smoke detector, you must make sure it works properly or it will not help you if there is a fire.
"We also recommend that batteries be changed twice a year and an easy way to remember that is when you change you're clock, you change your batteries," says Saum.
Saum says most fire stations around the Valley are willing to come to your house and install a smoke detector for you if you request it.