CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The alarm sounded inside Cary's Fire Station 1 as a crowd of first responders and community partners gathered to launch the 15th year of ABC11's Operation Save A Life.
A team of firefighters rushed out to take the call as representatives talked about the mission to save lives and prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning altogether.
4,000 sealed lithium battery smoke alarms and 500 carbon monoxide alarms were donated to local fire departments in 2018.
Firefighters from across central North Carolina who loaded the boxes of alarms inside their vehicles Wednesday morning will take them back to their fire stations. From there, they will deliver and install them for free in the homes of the most vulnerable: low-income families, the elderly, or other people who are at risk.
Operation Save A Life aims to educate and spread awareness of fire safety, along with installing working smoke and CO alarms in homes where they're needed,
Dr. Bruce Cairns, director of the NC Jaycee Burn Center, said the best way to treat a burn is to prevent it.
"It's a lifelong problem," he said. "It changes your life in an instant, you have the scars both internally and externally, and you and your family--everyone is changed forever."
Cairns said the consistent message of fire safety from Operation Save A Life is what will make the difference in the long run and now, following a disaster like Hurricane Florence.
At least 15 patients have been treated for burns at UNC received in the wake of the storm, either by burning debris or exposure to electric wiring, Cairns said.
Two people died from carbon monoxide poisoning after running their generators inside their homes during the storm.
ABC11 partners with local fire departments, The Home Depot, NC Jaycee Burn Center at UNC, and Carolina Restoration Services for Operation Save A Life.
Thousands of free smoke alarms, CO alarms delivered during Operation Save A Life
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