Seven people each day die across the U.S. during home fires, and often it is from not having a working smoke detector. As recently as March 29 an elderly couple died from a small but smoky fire in their Evanston home that was not equipped with smoke detectors.
To increase the number of local homes with working smoke detectors, the University of Cincinnati and UC Health will join with the Red Cross on April 29 to install 1,000 new smoke detectors in Greater Cincinnati homes. Called "A Cause for Alarms: Mega Blitz 2017” volunteers from across the region will visit homes in target neighborhoods and offer to replace batteries in detectors or, if needed, install new smoke detectors at no charge to homeowners or renters. They’ll also provide free fire evacuation information.
UC and UC Health are again co-sponsoring the event.
"This is the third year we’ve been participating and it gets better every year,” says Lori Mackey, senior associate dean for operations and finance in the College of Medicine and a volunteer for the last two years. "This is just another instance of how the College of Medicine and UC Health have worked together to make a difference in our community. Not only are we doing something that could potentially save lives, but it’s a really fun event.”
This year the Red Cross is offering two shifts for those interested in participating. Volunteers are asked to gather at either 8 a.m. or noon on April 29, at Jack Cincinnati Casino, 1000 Broadway. People will be treated to food, festivities and instructions before heading out in teams of four with tools, batteries and smoke detectors to various neighborhoods in Greater Cincinnati. This year the Red Cross is hoping volunteers will visit approximately 3,000 homes in Madisonville, Norwood, St. Bernard, Paddock Hills and Oakley in Ohio and in Dayton, Bellevue and Covington in Kentucky.
Each home visit takes about 15 minutes. Red Cross and fire department vehicles will accompany volunteers to support the teams. Morning teams will shuttle back to Jack Cincinnati Casino by noon and afternoon teams will be back by 4 p.m.
Mackey says that she found homeowners and residents to be "very welcoming and actually incredibly sweet” when teams stopped by during the last two years. "Everyone appreciated learning about fire safety, creating a plan in case there was a fire in their home, and having their smoke detectors tested and often replaced. We mainly installed smoke detectors in older homes and apartments, where they either did not have detectors at all or the detectors were not working,” she added.
Smoke detectors wear out and should be replaced every 10 years, the Red Cross suggests.
To participate, visit SmokeAlarmsSaveLives.org
and fill out the registration. Children 15 years and older are able to join in the event. Parking is free in the Jack Cincinnati Casino parking garage for the event.