Red Cross saves lives with smoke detectors

Red Cross saves lives with smoke detectors
Red Cross volunteers with the Smoke Detector mascot
Red Cross volunteers with the Smoke Detector mascot

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As part of the National Day of Service in conjunction with MLK Day, WALB's Ben Roberts joined dozens of Red Cross volunteers are circulating through central Albany giving out smoke detectors and helping residents devise fire escape plans for their homes.

Members of the Albany Fire Department were also on hand at the Red Cross Headquarters on Pine Avenue, demonstrating safety techniques and giving out smoke detectors to volunteers.

Kimsehia Thomas knew her home did not have working smoke detectors, and was happy to welcome Red Cross volunteers to install them. "It was a good idea to get them," Thomas said.

This morning more than 70 Red Cross volunteers hit the streets in Albany, going to several neighborhoods to make sure people had working smoke detectors. The Red Cross says fires cause about 2500 deaths and $7 billion in property damage a year nationwide. And they know smoke detectors save lives.

Red Cross Regional Disaster Officer Eric Corliss said, "Those deaths are preventable. We know they are preventable, and that's where we came up with out five year campaign to see a 25 percent reduction in fatalities and injuries resulting from fire."

While volunteers from the SOWEGA Council On Aging installed the smoke detectors, other volunteers helped Thomas draw up an escape plan in case of fire. "So the kitchen is usually where it starts. So that's not a good way to go. So you could try the back door, the front door, or one of the windows."

 Corliss said, "We've got out teams working with the families to look at an evacuation route, and practice it. Because practice makes perfect, and that's an automatic response."

Thomas said her family will sleep easier now with that smoke detector and emergency plan. "Yes, much safer,"  Thomas said.

With today's work, dozens of homes in Albany are now better prepared in case of fire, and the people who live there better protected.

Boy Scout Troop 99 sponsored by Mt. Zion Church are also helping the effort.

Copyright  2015 WALB.  All rights reserved.