HURON — A highly successful program, designed to increase a family’s chance to survive a fire, will return to Huron for the third straight year.
The Red Cross Home Fire Prevention Campaign will be back in the Fair City the next two Saturdays, building upon the past two years of the program, which has seen free smoke alarms offered to nearly 1,000 homes in Huron.
“I have to say that Huron was the first community that began the smoke alarm program,” said Charlotte Henley, the Community Volunteer Leader for the Huron area. “We have had such great success that other communities are following our example. Last year we installed about 250 smoke alarms, which was just a few more than we installed the year before.”
Next weekend, on April 29, volunteers will be canvassing the houses in the southeastern part of the city, leaving door hangers on each front door and describing the program, the bones of which will take place the following Saturday, on May 6.
This year’s target area is the east side of town, from Dakota Avenue to Lawnridge, between 3rd and 6th Streets. “It’s about 500 houses, the same number we did last year,” Henley noted. She added that anyone outside of the area being addressed this year can request free smoke alarms at www.getasmokealarm.org or by texting ‘alarm’ to 1-844-811-0100
On May 6, two-person teams of volunteers will go back into the neighborhoods. One person will install smoke alarms in each house that is in need, while the other person goes through fire safety education with the residents.
Smoke alarms will be installed in each of the bedrooms in a house, in the family area and the kitchen, Henley said.
“Dakota Provisions is once again lending a big hand,” Henley said, “by providing interpreters for Hispanic and Karen residents.”
John Coughlin of the Huron Fire Department is coordinating this year’s event again, according to Henley. “John is retiring this year, so it’s kind of his last hurrah,” she said. “John and Howard Alter are two of the important cogs that make this program work in Huron.”
Henley is seeking volunteers, both for the April 29 door hangings, and for the May 6 smoke alarm installation. Call Henley at 352-4306 for more details.
On May 6, volunteers will meet at the North Fire Station at 9:30 a.m., for a short training period. Then the area will be divided up and assignments will be handed out, followed by a lunch provided by the Red Cross, Dakota Provisions and Coborns.
The Red Cross provides assistance to families who may have been devastated by fire, tornado or flood. The Eastern South Dakota Red Cross main office is in Sioux Falls, with other community groups scattered across the state. The Huron Disaster Action Team (DAT) responded to seven fires in 2016 in the Huron area, providing immediate help with food, shelter and clothing for the people who were victims of those fires.
Henley holds training and planning meetings for Red Cross volunteers on the second Thursday of each month, beginning at 5:30 p.m., at the North Fire Station. Anyone interested in helping with the mission of the Red Cross is encouraged to attend.