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Red Cross Teams Up with Mankato & North Mankato to Install Free Smoke Alarms

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Residents Encouraged to Visit to Sign Up

MANKATO, Minn., August 31, 2016 – September is National Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross serving Southwest Minnesota is teaming up with the cities of Mankato and North Mankato to install free smoke alarms and teach families fire safety on Saturday, September 24, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

 Launched in October of 2014, the Red Cross and thousands partners have helped save numerous lives through the Home Fire Campaign, as well as installing more than a quarter million smoke alarms in homes all across the country.

“Home fires claim more lives in an average year than all major natural disasters combined,” said Melanie Tschida, Interim Executive Director for the American Red Cross serving Southwest Minnesota. “Smoke alarms can save lives and we’re partnering with the cities of Mankato and North Mankato to make our communities safer for everyone.”

On Saturday, September 24, volunteer teams will install 10-year smoke alarms where needed, share vital home fire safety information and teach residents what to do if a fire breaks out in their home. Appointments typically take 20-30 minutes.

“The city of Mankato supports this initiative because it benefits people we serve and aligns with work we do,” says Jeff Bengtson, deputy director of public safety. “Mankato Department of Public Safety staff educate about the importance of smoke alarms because they provide early warning so residents can get outside quickly.”

“This effort is very important, as smoke alarms and fire education are crucial in helping people escape a structural fire,” added North Mankato Fire Public Education Officer Tom Eesley. “The North Mankato Fire Department supports the Home Fire Campaign as it benefits community members and the families that we serve.”

To request a smoke alarm installation for you or a loved one, call (612) 460-3674 or visit

Additional Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are needed for installation teams on September 24. For more information and to sign up, please contact Angie Schull at  (507) 387-6664, x1504 or email Grab your friends and family members and come out to help your neighbors in need. Lunch will be provided.

For more information about home fire safety, including safety checklists, printable fire escape plans and more, visit


The Red Cross is calling on everyone to take two simple steps that can save lives: create and practice their home fire escape plan and check their smoke alarms.

Other safety steps include:

  • If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives.
  • If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.
  • Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
  • Practice that plan. What’s the household’s escape time?

    People can learn how to help prevent a home fire and what to do if one occurs by downloading the Red Cross Emergency App. Children can earn points and incentives in a fun, gaming environment while learning how to prevent a home fire and other emergencies in the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones, and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or at

    About the American Red Cross

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. The American Red Cross serving Southwest Minnesota serves more than 360,000 people in Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Sibley, Watowan and Yellow Medicine counties. For more information, please visit Like us on Facebook: American Red Cross serving Southwest Minnesota.



    Melanie Tschida | Executive Director | American Red Cross Serving Southeast Minnesota

    310 14th St SE, Rochester, MN 55904 | (office) 507.287.2254 | (cell) 507.884.7402 |