Volunteers installing free smoke alarms for homeowners

American Red Cross sets goal to install 100,000 free smoke alarms for homeowners by May

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The American Red Cross says on average, seven people die every day from a house fire.

According to a recent study by the group, “96 percent of people say they’ve engaged in ordinary activities that are among the leading causes of home fires.”

That includes leaving food unattended on the stove or falling asleep with candles burning.

“Statistics show that you only have 2 minutes to get out of a house that catches on fire,” said Merri Alessi, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Capital West Chapter.

Mere minutes can be the difference between life or death when flames are forcing their way through your home.

Homeowner Phelex Parker says he’s been living nearly three years without a functioning smoke detector. His home has been moments away from being swallowed in flames twice.

“I look around and the house is almost on fire,” Parker says. “ So, I have to run out and go back in to try and put the fire out.”

Experts say a working smoke alarm can make a world of difference when there are only moments to spare.

“It’s been proven, smoke detectors are a lifesaver, “ said Mark Miles with the Baton Rouge Fire Department.

The American Red Cross partnered with the Baton Rouge Fire Department on Saturday, April 20 to canvass parts of Baton Rouge to install 10-year lithium battery operated smoke detectors, check existing alarms, and help families create escape plans.

Two smoke alarms were installed in Mr. Parker’s home.

He says he’s been neglecting to install an alarm and describe the assistance from the Red Cross and the volunteers helpful.

“Life-changing trust me. I really appreciate Red Cross, like I said they probably spared my life,” said Parker.

Miles says more often than not, the first thing crews notice when they’re on the scene of a fire is a smoke alarm or lack thereof.

“We pay attention. Do we hear smoke alarms going off? It’s sad to say in so many cases, we don’t hear smoke alarms,” said Miles.

The American Red Cross has a goal to install 100,000 smoke alarms before May.

Volunteers will install smoke alarms in the following pre-determined areas:

April 27 – Gardere

May 3 - Clinton

May 4 – Maringouin

May 10 – Zachary

If you would like an alarm installed for free, visit the American Red Cross of Louisiana .

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