Free smoke alarms now available for residents in 35 counties

Volunteers will install the detectors and educate about fire safety

The Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department and the American Red Cross will officially announce their partnership to get more smoke detectors into local homes. Fire chief Keith Powers and Red Cross spokeswoman Christian Smith join us to provide more information about this initiative.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The American Red Cross is offering free smoke alarms to residents in 35 counties, including all of Northeast Florida, to help prevent fire deaths.

The Sound the Alarm Save a Life event runs all year. It’s in addition to a city of Jacksonville program that also offers free smoke alarms to Duval County residents.

The American Red Cross initiative not only provides all Northeast Florida residents access to free smoke alarms but volunteers will also install them for free. The volunteers will also provide educational instruction about the importance of creating an Escape Plan for you and your family should a fire start in your home.

American Red Cross spokeswoman Christian Smith said anyone is eligible for the program.

“They sign up online or call our phone number to set those appointments up,” said Smith. “There are 1,243 documented lives saved through the program across the country.”

The statistics are sobering. A working smoke alarm reduces your risk of dying in a fire by 55%, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Three out of every five home fire deaths are caused by fires in properties with no smoke detector.

Jacksonville Fire Rescue Chief Keith Powers said there is no question that smoke alarms save lives.

“They give you an early alert to get out before the smoke gets so thick you can’t breathe or see,” he said. “It’s very important to have that warning system. In fact, about a week ago we had a fire here in Jacksonville that had working smoke detectors. Two of the residents were able to get out, one was still trapped, but we were able to get there in time, rescue her and get her out and she survived as well.”

Powers said in addition to installing free smoke alarms for Duval County residents, JFRD will also change the battery if you can’t reach your smoke alarm.

Duval County residents can call 630-CITY(2489) to make an appointment for JFRD to come to your home and install a smoke detector for free. Duval County residents and all residents in Northeast Florida, can also call the American Red Cross, at 904-248-4016 or click here Sound The Alarm – Save a Life | Red Cross to schedule an appointment for a Red Cross volunteer to come to your home, install a smoke alarm and provide educational information about fire safety for free.

About the Author:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.