ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Tennessee fire is prompting a safety warning from Albany Firefighters.
They warn South Georgians who have burglar bars on their homes to make a plan on how they would get out quickly in an emergency.
There are many buildings in Albany that have burglar bars that are fixed on the windows, and can not be opened, and some need keys to be opened. Firefighters said that for safety, residents should make an escape plan.
Officials in Memphis said that they don't know if the burglar bars on a home played any part in the nine deaths in a tragic fire on Monday. But Albany firefighters said burglar bars and security doors can trap people inside a burning building.
"Anything that is going to hinder your getting in or out of a building is something you need to plan for," said Albany Fire Chief Ron Rowe.
If people work or live in buildings with burglar bars, firefighters urge them to practice how they would get out as quickly as possible.
"Have an escape plan. That's the main thing. Regardless of what the construction or your building you are living in," explained Rowed. "Burglar bars or not, you still need to have an escape plan."
Firefighters actually scout homes and buildings where they know there are burglar bars, just in case a rescue is needed. They would use the jaws of life to pry the bars off if necessary. If security bars or gates need a key, firefighters said that residents should practice getting it and opening the escape.
"When you are in a situation of panic, fire situation or otherwise, you don't want to have to depend on trying to figure out how to do things," said Rowe. "If the fire is between you and the exit, it is not the time to try to look for a key."
Firefighters said that today's homes, full of plastics and synthetics, burn much faster than natural products. So seconds getting out can make the difference between life and death.
Firefighters said burglar bars are not the only hindrance to escape through windows. Many people have their windows painted shut, or have storm windows installed over them. So they urge people to make an escape plan for their family, and practice it, so their loved ones can get out alive.