Red Cross to install 1,000th smoke detector

The Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross set an ambitious goal at the start of their fiscal year, to install 1,000 free smoke detectors in their six-county service area. It’s anticipated that goal will be achieved this week.

The American Red Cross launched a house fire preparedness campaign, with a goal of reducing the amount of fire related deaths in the United States.

According to promotional material for the campaign, “Seven times a day someone in this country dies in a home fire. Countless others suffer injuries. The House Fire Preparedness Campaign is happening all over the country and involved Red Cross workers joining with local fire department and community groups to visit neighborhoods at high risk for fires. Those visits include educating people about fire safety through door-to-door visits and installation of smoke alarms in some of those neighborhoods.”

Debbie Smith, Community Executive of the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross said, as soon the campaign was launched efforts began locally to implement the campaign.

One of the key elements of the campaign is to make smoke detectors available to anyone and everyone free of charge. If someone calls the Red Cross needing a smoke detector, a Red Cross representative will schedule a time to visit the home to install the detector.

“We have installed 945 smoke alarms in the past 7 months. I think we will be at 1,000 by the end of this week. Which is cause to celebrate. We know we can help save lives by providing free smoke alarms,” Smith said. “We would also like to encourage others to help volunteer, we have done this amount with the help of just 3 people. The more volunteers we have the more we can do.”

The representative can also help the individual or family develop a plan, in the event of an emergency.

The Red Cross has developed a three-step process to get a family prepared, the process includes having a kit of supplies that can be taken with you in case your home has to be evacuated.

“Meet with members of your household and discuss what emergencies could occur in your home, taking into account what type of disasters could happen in your neighborhood. Plan what steps everyone should take if something happens,” the Red Cross advises.

Step three is to be informed.

“Disaster can strike anywhere, anytime. It’s important for everyone to make sure their household is ready and knows what to do should an emergency occur,” according to a release from the Red Cross.

In a survey conducted for the Red Cross, it showed people mistakenly believe they have more time than really do to escape a burning home.

Most Americans through the survey believed they have five minutes to escape a burning home. That’s more than twice the amount they actually have. Nearly 18 percent of those surveyed believed they would have ten minutes or more to get out of a burning house.

Smith said a lot of the work accomplished by the Red Cross is achieved through volunteers.Red Cross Volunteers can serve in a number of roles including blood donor, install smoke detectors and a number of other ways.

Call the Red Cross at 740-354-3293 to schedule an appointment to have a smoke detector installed in a home or visit them at 1801 Robinson Avenue in Portsmouth. The Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross can also be found on Facebook.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter