Panhandle Plains Red Cross Installs Free Smoke Alarms for National Preparedness Month | KLBK | KAMC

LUBBOCK, Texas — The Panhandle Plains Red Cross Chapter will install about 900 free smoke detectors for anyone in the Southern Plains who needs them, a staff member told KLBK News Thursday.

The event, Sound the Alarm, will take place on Saturday, September 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Teams of volunteers will work together in homes to check the functionality of existing smoke detectors, install new ones, educate families and help create household safety plans, all at no cost to families.

“I never want to talk to anyone who has lost someone in a fire that could have been prevented,” said Monika Koenig, disaster program manager for the American Red Cross in Lubbock. “Last year it was me who had to speak to the parents of five dead children – where children died in fires. Here in Lubbock we’ve never had a fire where someone died so that he had a working smoke alarm. That’s why I’m so passionate about it.

Koenig said he saw dozens of displaced families in apartment fires and fires that engulfed trailers in less than seven minutes.

The Panhandle Plains Red Cross Chapter said just because someone has a smoke alarm doesn’t mean it works.

“Take it off the wall. Look on the back – it has a date on it – and if it’s over 10 years old, give us a call, send us a message, and we’ll move on. If you are unsure, we can also come and check for you,” Koenig explained.

For the hearing impaired, the Red Cross will install bed shakers free of charge in addition to smoke detectors.

“It doesn’t cost you a penny. Install a smoke alarm in your home. It saves lives and talk to your family about what happens in the event of a fire, because we often [see the] the husband goes out one door, the wife goes out the other door, both come in because they are looking for each other,” she shared.

Koenig said having a plan and integrating your loved ones can make all the difference.

“Does your family have a meeting point?” Do you know that your children might not hear a smoke alarm until they are seven years old? — questions Koenig suggested families take the time to answer.

One volunteer, Lucy Barrington, said she saw the power these conversations can have.

She said she once spoke with a father who had four children under the age of eight and they demonstrated the correct way to escape a fire.

“They all got on all fours and crawled to the front door. I was stunned that the father prepared for this,” Barrington said, adding that many families don’t take the time to have these vital conversations, which is also why she continues to educate through this program.

If you are unavailable next Saturday to receive a free smoke alarm, the Red Cross said you can always reach out and they will find another time to meet you.

You can pre-register by calling the Red Cross at 806-765-6790, visiting the website hereor by scanning the QR code below.

Scan the QR code to pre-register for a free smoke detector and installation.

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