Red Cross “sounds the alarm” to save lives

Red Cross “sounds the alarm” to save lives
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The American Red Cross is fighting fire with fire under its “Sound the Alarm, Save a Life” campaign.

Volunteers are teaming up with local fire agencies to deliver life-saving tools door-to-door across the country.

A smoke alarm beeping is no sound anyone wants to hear, but it can make all the difference in a fire.

“Two houses in this neighborhood have burnt down recently, one on the 1900 block and one on the next block over, and that makes a person nervous. You know, it’s me and my animals here, and if a fire broke out, we might be in trouble,” said Dave Gastineau, a Joplin resident.

Gastineau and others in his neighborhood are getting free smoke alarms from the red cross and the local fire fighters are installing them. Gastineua admits he put it off because of the cost.

“I am disabled and I’m on a budget, so that’s why I haven’t bought them yet.”

A smoke alarm may seem like a small thing, but it can save lives when every second counts.

“Everyday more than 7 people are killed by home fires and when your smoke alarm does go off you have less than 2 minutes to get out of your home. So, make sure you have a plan in place, you practice that plan, and that you’re able to get out,” warned Stacy Burks, Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Missouri.

Red Cross volunteers have been canvassing neighborhoods in need since 2014. The home fire campaign, installs alarms with 10-year lithium ion batteries, making a lasting difference.

“To walk into a home, Dave’s home, or just up the street, I walked into the home of a mom with three children and there wasn’t a single working smoke alarm in that home…that allows me, and our volunteers, and our staff to be able to go home and be able to realize that we’ve made a difference in somebody’s life,” said Burks.

Gastineau says he’ll be sleeping sounder, knowing he and his neighbors are safer.

“There’s a lot of people around here that could benefit that can’t really afford it, so that’s great.”

88 alarms were installed in Joplin. If you need smoke alarms installed in your home, you can call your local fire department or register here.

The Red Cross is also “sounding the alarm” for volunteers and blood donations. A blood drive will be held on April 24 at the Joplin library.