Red Cross installs free smoke detectors

HURON – Hundreds of families can sleep a little easier thanks to a free smoke alarm installation program that’s now in its third year in Huron through the Red Cross and the Huron Fire Department.
“We’ve been doing this for three years,” said Charlotte Henley, the Community Volunteer Leader for the Huron area as a couple dozen volunteers and firefighters prepared to knock on doors in the southeast part of town.
“We’ve been very successful,” she said. “And I’m happy to say our staff often refer to Huron as a role model for the way we get things done.
“I think we all appreciate the fact that we have so many volunteers who show up, and we’re very, very grateful,” Henley said.
Volunteers had left hangers on doors a week ago on houses they returned to on Saturday to check to see if they had working smoke detectors and to install new ones.
They also brought along packets of information on home safety tips, home escape planning and what to do when threatened by a tornado.
Ray Sorensen of the Red Cross in Sioux Falls said the new smoke detectors installed Saturday have lithium batteries that are good for 10 years.
“You’ll find that the vast majority of homes have smoke alarms that are 10, 15, 20, 30, 50 years old,” he said.
Firefighters and volunteers visited homes in two-person teams to install detectors and to talk with occupants.
Detectors should be installed in all of the sleeping areas on each floor, Sorensen said. “Also, make sure you have at least one alarm on every floor of the house,” he said.
Volunteers also inquired if anyone under age 17 or over age 65 lived in the residence, as people in those age groups are most susceptible in case of a fire.
Sorensen also asked the teams to learn if the residents they met have developed an escape plan for family members so everyone knows how to get out of the house safely.
“You want to make sure that they have two ways out of every room in the house,” he said.