Smoke detectors available to those who ask

Sean C. Morgan

The Red Cross is offering to install smoke detectors to anyone in the community who needs them.

A couple of years ago, the Red Cross offered the service to residents who live in manufactured homes, said Sweet Home firefighter and paramedic Mike Severns. “This year, they decided to make it a community-based event. Anybody can sign up. They’re free with installation.”

The program is open to anyone inside the city and in outlying areas.

Severns said that detectors need to be replaced after 10 years, and batteries should be changed annually.

“They estimate that upward of 14,000 people lost their lives in house fires last year due to not having smoke alarms or functioning smoke alarms in the house,” Severns said. “We’ve had a few calls where a family was alerted first by a smoke detector.”

It makes a difference, he said. A fire can engulf a room in three to five minutes.

The Red Cross also offers pre-fire planning, Severns said. Red Cross volunteers will go into homes and explain what hazards they find there.

Severns said the Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District and Red Cross are trying to target the elderly who may not normally want to ask for assistance with their smoke detectors.

Right now, about 40 residents have already signed up for the program, Severns said. “The goal is to get 60, but that goal is very flexible.”

To sign up, email [email protected] and provide a name, address and phone number.

Installations will begin on Nov. 17 by appointment. Once the date gets close, the Red Cross will contact individuals to schedule the appointment.