ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Thursday, Albany fire crews will be attending the International Association of Fire Chief's Convention and Expo in Atlanta. The department has won the Excellence in Home Fire Safety award, the only agency in the nation to receive the honor.
Over the last couple of years, AFD has been partnered up with the Southwest Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross in their smoke detector installation campaign.
Both groups would visit several neighborhoods that were considered targets for house fires, such as older homes, and install free smoke alarms.
Fire crews also spent time with residents to discuss important fire safety prevention methods as well.
ln 2014, AFD went to a home on Avalon Ave. for routine installation on a Friday. Two days later, the resident left the stove unattended as she went to bed, a fire soon started.
She woke up to the sound of the smoke alarm, it saved her life and her home.
Chief Sebon Burns says they're excited to be a part of something so important.
"Being that we're the only fire department in the nation to be getting this award, I think it's going to be a big deal. I'm going to have to get up and make 'I have a dream speech,' shake some hands. It feels good that the information you are giving out is working."
According to a 2002 study, from the U.S. Fire administration, 92% of fatal fires occur either in homes or in cars, that's why fire crews say its critical you have working detectors.
"Most of the fires we go to the resident doesn't have a working smoke detector," said Burns. "So, we may not have a loss of life, we have a lot of property damage. It puts us in a position where, we are going in and you're trying to save as much of the house as you can but if they have that smoke detector they would have that early warning signal."
Fire officials say residents need to change out the batteries and test their detectors once a month.
AFD wants to keep the program going, they're asking for donations from the community, you can drop off smoke detectors or batteries at any of the fire departments in Albany.