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Red Cross targeted Knoxville for 300 smoke alarms


October 24, 2017

David Herzog, a volunteer coordinator with the Red Cross' Home Fire program demonstrates how to properly install a smoke alarm. Volunteers canvased Knoxville installing free smoke alarms over the weekend.

The American Red Cross Sounded the Alarm to save lives during a Home Fire Campaign Smoke Alarm Install Event on Saturday, Oct, 21.

As part of its Prepare Western Pennsylvania Initiative, volunteers went door-to-door in Knoxville to educate residents on the importance of having and practicing home fire escape plans and to install free smoke alarms where none exist or where existing one have failed.

"All too often we hear of people who perish in home fires," noted Dan Tobin, American Red Cross Director of Marketing and Communications. "Having a working smoke alarm can increase your chances of making it to safety by over 50 percent. The service our volunteers provide during the event here today has the potential to save lives."

State Senator Wayne Fontana and American Red Cross Western Pennsylvania CEO Patricia Waldinger kicked-off the event when they welcome the volunteers to the community.

In a brief training session before the group dispersed into the neighborhood, Jim Good a volunteer with the Red Cross, said the purpose of the day was to distribute, install, educate and then document each smoke alarm. The goal was to install 300 smoke alarms in Knoxville that day.

Going door-to-door, volunteers were to ask people if they not only had smoke alarms, but if they had an escape plan in the event of a fire. Mr. Good noted people usually only have two minutes after a fire starts to get out of the building.

Each home was eligible to have as many as four smoke alarms installed for free, one for each floor. If the resident wanted more alarms, the volunteers were to recommend they go out and purchase them. It's recommend to have a smoke alarm for each bedroom in addition to being on every floor.

The alarms installed by the Red Cross are 10-year detectors that don't need batteries changed for their 10-year life.

Volunteers would also check existing smoke alarms, if the resident permitted them, and replace them if necessary. However, they aren't permitted to just replace batteries and aren't permitted to leave new uninstalled smoke alarms.

The Sound the Alarm program is slated to also go door-to-door in Allentown and Beltzhoover in the coming months.

Mr. Tobin added, "We are so very grateful to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, Pittsburgh Police, St. Paul AME Church, and the Beltzhoover Consensus Group for their assistance with this event. Their support is what enables the Red Cross to help people to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disaster and emergency situations big and small throughout our community."


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