LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The American Red Cross Kentucky Region aims to save lives through its Home Fire Campaign. The free program offers to replace smoke alarm batteries or install up to three smoke alarms in homes that need them or don’t have one. In addition, the trained volunteers or professionals that provide the service also teach fire safety and provide guidance on a family disaster plan in case a fire happens.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost three of every five home fire deaths are due to homes with no smoke alarms or ones that aren’t working.
When the Red Cross Kentucky Region shows up, first, all smoke detectors in the home are checked. If there aren’t any smoke detectors, then the Red Cross will install them.
Some alarms just need a new battery, and the Red Cross will replace them with a battery that lasts 10 years.
Other smoke alarms need to be replaced altogether. The Red Cross recommends changing a smoke alarm every 10 years because sensors deteriorate over time.
“So while it still may make a sound, it may not detect the smoke or the heat that would be coming off from a fire,” said Senior Regional Disaster Officer, Daniel Wirth, of the Red Cross Kentucky Region.
On the back of a smoke alarm is a date. If it’s older than five years the Red Cross will usually replace it because they can install up to three smoke alarms per visit.
Since October 2014, the Red Cross Kentucky Region has installed over 59,000 smoke alarms, and Wirth, who is one of the trained professionals that conducts home visits, has seen the program’s impact.
“The very first Home Fire Campaign that I participated in, a woman was alerted to a fire in her home because of one of the smoke alarms one of our teams installed, and it saved her life,” Wirth told Spectrum News 1.
According to the Red Cross Kentucky Region, 62 lives have been saved as a result of this campaign. “When we go and install smoke alarms and provide fire safety education, we have documentation stating how many alarms we installed,” Amber Youngblood, Senior Director of Communications for the American Red Cross Kentucky Region, explained in an email. “When a fire breaks out, we work closely with fire departments, and we can tell based off of the address and fire department if we installed smoke alarms in their home prior to the house fire,” she added.
Every home visit also includes fire safety tips and guidance with a fire escape plan.
The Red Cross Kentucky Region covers nearly the entire Bluegrass State. Anyone interested in a home visit can sign-up for an appointment online or call 502-561-3697. The Red Cross Kentucky Region also needs volunteers for the program, who will be trained. If interested, call (502) 409-1017 or visit redcross.org/volunteer.