Smoke Alarms

St. James Catholic Church recently collected more than 550 smoke alarms, like the ones pictured here, for the Seguin Fire Department to distribute to area residences in need.

Two local organizations are hoping to educate and bring awareness to the community’s elderly and disabled residents about practicing fire safety in their own homes.

The Seguin Fire Department and Community Council of South Central Texas are kicking off their series of “Safe at Home” fire safety workshops with a class on activated smoke alarms and how to avoid false alarms at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31 in the community room a the House Authority of Seguin, 516 Jefferson Avenue.

“We’re breaking these up into four separate classes so that everyone has a chance to absorb a little bit of the information each time,” Seguin Fire Marshal Greg Dreiss said. “We’re expecting the class to be about 30 to 45 minutes long so that we don’t exceed the ability to sit still that long.”

The free workshops will focus on safe cooking, the do’s and don’ts during a fire, and heating and electric safety tips in the home.

“Each workshop includes various active learning components such as fire drills, developing a fire escape plan, escape buddy system and fire system walk-through surveys,” Dreiss said.

One of the largest causes of home fires is cooking and as someone ages the risk of having a fire in a home increases, he said.

“The risk of dying in a structure doubles after the age of 75 and goes up approximately a third after the age of 85,” Dreiss said. “We’re hoping to decrease the risks of our older generation dying in a structure first by teaching them how to respond properly.”

The two groups were able to start the new series after the CCSCT received a grant from GVEC and the Seguin Fire Department earned one from Union Pacific, Dreiss said.

“We’re hoping to be able to reach as many people as possible through these courses,” he said. “We’re hoping to host several more between now and the end of March.”

Those who attend at least two workshops have the chance to receive a home safety device such as first aid kits and carbon monoxide alarms.

Although the classes are aimed toward older individuals, all ages are welcome to attend them.

For more information, contact the Seguin Fire Marshal’s Office at 830-401-2312.

Valerie Bustamante is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at

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