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Ask SAM: Why does the Winston-Salem Fire Department show wrecks and fires on its social media?

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Q: I’ve recently noticed that the City of Winston-Salem Facebook page has started posting photos and videos of home fires and car accidents. I find this invasive and inconsiderate. Why do they post such things?

K.P.

Answer: Winston-Salem Fire Chief Trey Mayo said that the social media postings are to help educate residents about the dangers of fires and wrecks and that they don’t always happen to someone else.

“Postings do not include patients’ faces, license plates, or other identifying information. Usually, addresses are no more specific than a block number. Interior video does not include anything identifiable from inside someone’s house,” Mayo said.

“The postings are an attempt to instill in the public the dangers posed by everyday life. Car crashes kill about 1.35 million Americans each year, a number approximately equal to cancer and heart disease combined. Crashes injure an additional 20 to 50 million each year.

“America has the 10th highest death rate from fires in the industrialized world, and that number is trending higher. America’s fire problem is frequently blamed on substandard housing; lack of residential fire sprinklers, too few firefighters, insufficient federal funding, and myriad other things.

“The root cause of America’s fire problem is that Americans don’t fear fire. Fire happens to someone else. Fires burn on the other side of town. The fire department’s social media postings serve to educate the public that automobile crashes and fires happen often, and the consequences are severe,” Mayo said.

Q: I called City Link at 311 on Jan. 4 to report a stop sign lying on the ground and requesting it be fixed. It has been more than a week and it still isn’t fixed. Police cars, city workers have gone through the intersection many times, does it take an accident to get this small task taken care of. The sign is at the intersection of Wood-leigh and Union streets.

B.C.

Answer: In this case, apparently something fell through the cracks. The good news is, the stop sign is back in its proper place.

Laura Whitaker of the City of Winston-Salem Department of Transportation, explained how the system is supposed to work.

“Normally, when a stop sign issue is reported to City Link it is treated as an emergency repair. City Link will make a direct call to Traffic Maintenance, or on-call staff, if reported after hours.

“Staff respond and address these type of sign repairs 24/7 within a 30-minute response time. Once the email was received staff was deployed immediately to this location and the stop sign has been repaired.”

Q: Where can I dispose of large L-shaped office desks?

L.L.

Answer: Johnita Campbell, the deputy director of sanitation for the City of Winston-Salem, said that such large items as furniture, can be disposed of at the Hanes Mill Road landfill.

Q: Why has the Journal stopped publishing Jennifer Rubin’s columns?

D.E.

Answer: Rubin is a writer for the Washington Post Writers Group. The Winston-Salem Journal no longer subscribes that group and has stopped running its columnists.

Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

Online: journalnow.com/asksam

Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101

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