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Accept smoke alarms

Some local volunteers are about to embark on a life-saving effort – and everyone who has the chance should take advantage of the opportunity.

The Wolfhurst Volunteer Fire Department is working with the American Red Cross to help ensure area residents are protected from the hazard of residential fires. On the morning of Nov. 9, they will fan out across the Presidential Estates mobile home park, knocking on doors and seeking to install free smoke detectors in people’s homes.

“We’re going to try and get as many smoke detectors in as many residences as we can get,” Fire Chief Matt Otto said.

It’s a proven fact that smoke detectors save lives. All too often, people living without the devices are overcome by smoke while sleeping and never have a chance to escape from their burning homes. Otto knows the danger firsthand, since his parents experienced a house fire in a home without the devices, and his father was fortunate to survive.

There are about 130 residences in Presidential Estates, and organizers anticipate installing two or three alarms in each of those homes. The project was made possible by the Red Cross program known as “Sound the Alarm.” More than 30,000 volunteers are working with the program this year, and more than $15 million has been raised to purchase the necessary equipment.

According to the campaign, seven people die each day in home fires, mostly in structures that lack smoke alarms. So far, the program, according to the Red Cross, has saved at least 650 people’s lives.

Otto said any residents of Presidential Estates who are no home on Nov. 9 will receive information on how to contact the fire department for installation of the free detectors at a later date. Everyone living in the neighborhood should do the smart thing and accept the free equipment. And those who happen to be away when volunteers canvass the neighborhood should follow up and have the devices installed at another time.

If the program is well received, Otto said, it will be expanded to other neighborhoods. We urge residents to accept the potentially life-saving gifts and to provide positive feedback in order to help the program grow. The program is clearly a win-win effort for both residents and for those who respond in an emergency to help save their lives.

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