OLD TOWN – The American Red Cross of Maine and the Old Town Fire Rescue Department are teaming up to install free smoke alarms in residents’ homes and teach people how to be prepared for home fires.
Old Town residents can sign up for the free smoke alarm installation by calling Ron Springel of the Red Cross at 874-1192, extension 113. The Red Cross, the Old Town Fire Rescue Department and community volunteers will follow-up with the installation on Saturday, July 22.
“Working smoke alarms are key to escaping a home fire safely. That early warning, along with a practiced escape plan to a designated meeting area and early notification to emergency services can greatly reduce death and injuries,” said Capt. David Daniels of the Old Town Fire Rescue Department. “Smoke alarms are easy to install and easy to maintain. The technology available today has reduced the ‘nuisance alarms’ of the past. We want to install as many smoke alarms and talk to as many residents about fire safety as we can because the people of our community are very important to us.”
The effort is a part of an ambitious national campaign launched by the Red Cross to cut home fire deaths and injuries by a quarter by 2020.
“Nationally, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters every year – and the vast majority are home fires,” said Kristen Simas, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign lead for the Northern and Eastern Maine chapter. “When a home fire strikes, you may have as little as two minutes to get out safely. Having smoke alarms and an escape plan can make all the difference.”
Since its launch in October 2014, the national campaign has installed more than 744,000 free smoke alarms and has helped families create more than 263,000 escape plans. The campaign has saved at least 235 lives.
HOME FIRE SAFETY: There are several things people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones from fires. They include:
• Installing smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test them every month and replace the batteries every six months (change your clock, change your battery).
• Developing a fire evacuation plan with all members of the household and practicing it several times a year, at different times of the day.
• Include two ways to get out of every room and consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor above.
• Pick a place outside for everyone to meet and make sure everyone knows where it is.
• Removing any fire hazards from the home.
To learn more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit redcross.org/homefires.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit MaineRedCross.org, like the American Red Cross of Maine on Facebook or visit us on Twitter at @ARC_Maine.