Red Cross to hold ‘Sound the Alarm’ campaign

Published 9:08 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The American Red Cross is stepping up to impact communities in need with their Sound the Alarm, Save a Life campaign to install smoke detectors for households lacking the home safety device. As part of their Home Fire Campaign, they will be coming to Selma on Saturday, April 28 to offer the free installation service to the residents.

The Red Cross attempts to impact homes across the state by partnering up with other organizations and breaking down two areas in their designated regions that could use some assistance. Selma and Montgomery were both grouped in the same region, and each will see 350 smoke detectors installed for families without one.

According to Caleb Robinson, disaster program specialist for the local Red Cross, the detectors already have long-term batteries installed to save residents the cost.

The program not only aids residents with free installation service, it provides them for an opportunity for some education as well.

“What we do is we go to communities that have been prone to house fires in the area, installing the smoke alarms in the homes and just teaching them the importance of working smoke alarms in the event of a house fire,” Robinson said. “Not only do we install the alarms for them, we teach the families and encourage them to do mock fire drills so they have a plan in place. A house fire is the most common disaster. They need to be ready.”

Robinson also stated that the unpredictability of house fires makes them all the more dangerous, with a slew of different factors contributing to the risk. This includes winter weather, when many heaters have to work over their safe capacity.

Because of the vast array of factors, he says, there is a house fire started every eight minutes somewhere in the world.

In order to help combat this unpredictability, the members of Red Cross and volunteers will install multiple detectors in almost all the homes they service, depending on the size of the home. What often happens is Robinson and his team will install one detector in the hallway, another in the living room and then another in an area with a higher fire risk such as a kitchen.

When the Red Cross comes to Selma on April 28, Robinson hopes that the residents will take advantage of the installation or education services they are providing. The program includes participation from local fire departments, businesses and volunteers outside of American Red Cross.

Despite the community participation, however, Robinson understands that people need to take the necessary steps to prevent fires from happening in the first place. He provides the public with some tips.

“Be mindful of what you are doing. Like if you are cooking, don’t leave food unattended on the stove. If you break out the space heater, do not plug it into an extension cord or put something over it. Don’t put it too close to something that could probably catch on fire like a sofa or a bed sheet,” he said.

Lastly, it is advised to check everything twice.

The program begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 1 p.m.

For more information about the American Red Cross’ Sound the Alarm, Save a Life Program, reach out to (334) 874-4641, or visit their website at www.redcross.org/local/alabama/home-fire-safety.