Organizations teaming up to install free smoke alarms for Kings Grant residents

The American Red Cross and New Hanover County Fire Department are working together this weekend to help ensure people are protected.
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 7:52 AM EDT
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KINGS GRANT, N.C. (WECT) - We know smoke alarms can help save lives, but only if you have one properly installed in your home.

That’s why the American Red Cross and New Hanover County Fire Rescue are working together this weekend to help ensure people are protected.

On Saturday, April 22, the groups will be going door to door to offer free smoke alarm installations to people in the Kings Grant area.

It is estimated that this campaign has saved nearly 2,000 lives since it began in 2014.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half for those with working smoke alarms.

2021 was one of the deadliest years on record when 134 people lost their lives in North Carolina due to fire.

Volunteers and emergency teams will be also be informing people what causes home fires, what to do if a fire starts and how to create an escape plan.

“It’s super important for us to get our name out there. Let people know that this is a free program that we provide and that we’re willing to come, install and meet with you. Talk about some safety information and really help out anyone who’s in need,” said James O’Reilly, disaster program specialist for the American Red Cross.

When it comes to those working smoke alarms, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • They should be installed on every level of a home;
  • They should be tested regularly to ensure that they’re working properly;
  • Batteries should be replaced at least once a year;
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.

Fire officials say that although you may not think about them regularly, these devices are critically important.

“They’re free, they’re virtually painless, and it takes just a few minutes to receive a new working smoke alarm, have it installed on your ceiling and get a bit of education that goes along with that. But you can’t live without them. Truly smoke alarms, working smoke alarms, are a life-saving device and every home needs them,” said Wendy Giannini-King, risk reduction coordinator for Wilmington Fire Department.

If you’re interested in receiving an alarm, you can schedule an appointment with the American Red Cross. Even those who reside outside the Kings Grant area can take advantage of this opportunity.

Those who would like to assist with this program can sign up to volunteer here. No experience is required and free training will be provided on the day of your shift.