Red Cross gives out smoke alarms

Published 11:18 am Monday, March 7, 2016

One organization is endeavoring to keep people safe from fires.

A nationwide American Red Cross initiative to give out free smoke alarms and test existing alarms is being utilized in Warren County.

“It’s an ongoing campaign so every home in Warren County has a smoke alarm,” 35-year community volunteer Margaret Stallings said.

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All homeowners qualify for the campaign and renters should check with landlords before calling, she said.

“They are qualified for up to three free smoke alarms, or we will change out the batteries of the existing smoke alarms and we’ll test the existing fire alarms,” Stallings said.

A team of three, one recorder—to keep a record of what they do, one educator and one installer, will go to each home appointment.

“It’s more than just the install, we try to educate the family on fire safety as well,” Stallings said.

Part of the education the team provides is through information on fire safety basics and a magnet with a marker that allow the family to write down and post a fire safety plan tailored to their home.

“It has important emergency phone numbers on it as well,” Stallings said.

She said there is not a set time or day that the team has to make the appointment and that the volunteers try to be available when convenient for the homeowner.

“We try to be flexible because people work and some people are only available on weekends,” Stallings said.

At this point, she already has a list of over a dozen homeowners requesting an appointment. Stallings has been working on the logistics of scheduling homes in similar areas on the same day with available volunteers. The American Red Cross Flowood office will distribute each request with the homeowners name, phone number, address and number of bedrooms in the home to Stallings.

“It takes a while to get it organized,” Stallings said.

She said a group of students from Minnesota are stopping in Warren County on their way to Florida for Spring Break to volunteer on March 14 by canvasing the area with information on the free installation.

To request an appointment, call the American Red Cross Flowood office at 601-353-5442 and dial ‘0’ for the operator.