HUNTINGTON — As part of the Sound the Alarm campaign, American Red Cross volunteers are encouraging Huntington residents to learn fire safety.
On Saturday, volunteers with the Red Cross went door-to-door to leave placards about fire safety and smoke alarm installations.
The programs are part of the Red Cross’ campaign Sound the Alarm, which takes place from April 8 to May 8, said Roy Grimmett, who is a disaster program manager for the Tri-State Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Grimmett said residents can register by calling 304-340-3650 and selecting option No. 2 or online at www.soundthealarm.org/centralappalachia. After signing up, residents can get fire safety education from the Red Cross that is either virtual or socially distanced. Then, a firefighter will come to their home to install a smoke alarm.
“We are trying to make the community safer from home fires,” Grimmett said.
Huntington Fire Chief Jan Rader said the Red Cross reached out to the department about Sound the Alarm and the Huntington Fire Department was happy to join the cause. Last year’s event was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rader said having working smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors for those with gas appliances or heat, in one’s home can be lifesaving.
In 2020, Huntington had five fire deaths after having none for three years prior, Rader said. She added that she believes those could have been prevented with a smoke detector.
“It’s very sad. It’s very hard on the family. It’s very hard on the responders that deal with the emergency,” Rader said.
Rader said many who do already have smoke detectors can forget to change the batteries, making it key that there is repetitive awareness about checking detectors. The alarms that HFD will install have a battery life of 10 years, she said.
The chief also stressed the importance of having an escape plan in case of a fire and a designated meeting area outside for those who live together.