Des Moines Volunteers to Help Install 10,000 Smoke Alarms

press conference
The project will be the largest of its kind in the history of the City of Des Moines.

The City of Des Moines, Des Moines Fire Department and the American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa announced a major initiative to make Iowa’s capital city more fire safe on Thursday. The project will be the largest of its kind in the history of the City. Leslie Schaffer, Regional Chief Executive for the Iowa Region of the Red Cross, joined Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and Fire Chief John TeKippe at a press briefing to discuss this important project on Thursday afternoon.

The following are the objectives for the project:

1.Install smoke alarms in the homes of children without smoke alarms as identified in Des Moines Public Schools parent-teacher conferences by/on October 12, 2013.

2.Successful self-installation of smoke alarms by individuals within the City of Des Moines via a public information campaign.

3.Successful installation of up to 10,000 smoke alarms in single family residences within the Highland Park Neighborhood on October 12, 2013.

4.Successful distribution of personal preparedness information via a door-to-door campaign on October 12, 2013.

“Fire is the biggest disaster threat to American families—not floods, hurricanes or tornadoes,” said Leslie Schaffer, Regional Chapter Executive for the Red Cross. “Home fires are one disaster that can usually be prevented when people understand how to protect their families.”

During the one day blitz on October 12, volunteers will install up to 10,000 smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing smoke alarms and provide disaster preparedness information. The fire department selected Highland Park after ranking all of Des Moines’ neighborhoods for need of smoke alarms (based on a survey conducted at parent-teacher conferences,) calls to Des Moines Fire for service and income, based on Census data. They determined Highland Park had the greatest need when considering those three factors.

Volunteers will meet at 8:00 in the morning at River Place center, receive a brief training and will be deployed in teams of four. The Red Cross plans to call in all five of its Iowa-based ERVs or emergency response vehicles to help feed and provide water to the volunteers.

Home fires are America’s biggest disaster threat and fire can affect anyone, regardless of their background or geographic location. Fires also kill more Americans each year than all natural disasters combined.

Nationally, on average, the Red Cross provides food, shelter, comfort and hope to people affected by approximately 63,000 fires every year, or about one fire every eight minutes. In Polk County, Red Cross disaster workers responded to 63 home fires last year.

Information about you can get involved and smoke alarm instructional videos can be found at: http://www.dmgov.org/Departments/Fire/Pages/SmokeAlarm.aspx.

The smoke alarm installation project was made possible due to the generosity of the following partners: Iowa State Fire Marshal’s office, Polk County Emergency Management, Mormon Helping Hands, Nationwide Insurance, Principal Financial, Lowes, the Des Moines Radio Group, the Des Moines Neighbors Association and Sprint Print.