The Maryville Department of Public Safety- Fire Division brought a national campaign to the city by partnering with the American Red Cross to install and educate citizens on smoke alarms in their homes.
MFD joined forces with the American Red Cross and went on a door-to-door canvas installing smoke alarms April 20. The canvas, a part of “Sound the Alarm, Save a Life,” is a nationwide effort to prevent house fires and warn homeowners about the danger of a fire without an effective smoke alarm.
The crew focused on off-campus student housing, lower-income families and the city’s senior citizen population, where 43 alarms were installed among 22 homes between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at no cost to residents.
The Maryville Fire Explorer Post, a youth training program for minors interested in a public safety profession, and the Northwest Red Cross Club volunteered to assist installing the alarms.
Fire Capt. Phil Rickabaugh said the fire department wants to do everything they can to prevent needless tragedies such as house fires.
“We couldn’t do this without the help of the Red Cross, which are providing our community with a cache of 10-year, long-life smoke alarms,” Rickabaugh said in a department press release.
The St. Joseph Red Cross office provides Maryville with approximately 300 smoke alarms annually which are available year-round at the fire department. Those living in homes without alarms can go to the fire station and fill out an application for the department to install one for free at any time.
Rickabaugh said the alarms provide worry-free protection to those that previously had outdated or otherwise obsolete smoke detection in their homes.
The MFD says new alarms have a 10-year battery life and should not have to be replaced before that time, but still recommend annual checks to keep the alarm up-to-date.
Disaster Program Specialist Julia Pedrosa for the Red Cross out of St. Joseph, Missouri, said the campaign is essential to providing local and national support to homes without alarms.
“The campaign goes on from April 20 until May 18 all around the country,” Pedrosa said. “It is great to get to know and help people in small communities like this where we can better educate individuals who may or may not even have a detector in their homes.”
A firefighter with the MFD Jace Tine said he enjoyed the informational and productive day.
“There was one guy who didn’t even know if he had alarms in his home,” Tine said. “It turned out he didn’t, so we were lucky to have visited that home. So often people just don’t think about it.”
According to a MFD press release, seven people die in home fires every day and most occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
The MFD recommends checking smoke alarms twice a year to ensure the detector is working correctly.
Tine said an easy way to remember is to check them during daylight savings time after setting the clocks back, or in a similar manner that helps people remember.
“Some of the homes we went to were without alarms for quite a long time,” Tine said. “We’re always available to install these alarms, and if you don’t have them, we encourage you to come in.”
Pedrosa said she enjoys partnering with the MFD and the Maryville community.
“Getting word out to the community on this issue is key,” Pedrosa said. “Fire alarms save lives.”