Volunteers with the American Red Cross and local fire departments canvassed the county on June 24 in an effort to ensure that homes are safer with working smoke detectors. Yadkin County Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard said he was extremely proud of the effort and hopes to see it become an annual event.
Red Cross volunteer Margaret Erga said the Red Cross began its Home Fires Campaign three years ago and the Yadkin County smoke alarm canvass was part of that effort.
“The purpose of the Home Fires Campaign was to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from fires by 25 percent in five years,” she said. “We were trying to reach out in communities where folks needed smoke alarms.”
Through national grants and donations, the Red Cross has been able to provide smoke alarms for free to people in need of them.
Around 15 Red Cross volunteers as well as several Red Cross staff members and Rotary Club members visited homes in the county to distribute and install the smoke alarms. Impact Yadkin assisted with the campaign by providing names of those who may need smoke alarms. Yadkin Christian Ministries also provided the Red Cross with names of individuals who might be in need of smoke alarms, as did all of the Yadkin County fire departments.
“In one day we were able to put up 252 alarms,” Erga said.
Erga said some of the homes volunteers visited did not have working alarms while some did not have the proper number of smoke alarms.
“A lot of people don’t realize that smoke alarms do have a life span and that’s 10 years,” she added.
During the canvass, volunteers replaced old smoke alarms as well as installed new ones where needed. The smoke alarms installed by the Red Cross are good for 10 years and do not require battery changes. Erga said information about home fire safety and smoke alarms was also left at a number of homes in the county.
The project is one Erga hopes to see continued throughout the year. She said that area churches would be a good place to start to organize smaller versions of the recent canvass.
“If a church wants to take this on as a community project, we can provide the equipment, the smoke alarms and paperwork, and we’ve had churches that do this for their congregation and then out in the community,” she said.
Those still in need of smoke alarms in the county are asked to leave a voicemail with the Red Cross at 336-701-3473.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.