Red Cross, Opelika Fire Dept. offering free smoke detectors

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Seven times a day, someone in the United States dies in a fire.

In January, four children perished in an Opelika mobile home fire, and one is still recovering in the hospital.

With the memory of these Opelika children heavy on their hearts, the Opelika Fire Department is teaming up with the Red Cross to try to save lives by visiting homes and installing free smoke detectors.

It takes Opelika firefighters about two minutes to install a smoke detector. A quick, easy and now free solution that can provide a lifetime of safety for your family.

"It's cheap insurance, peace of mind, at night you can lay down and sleep and not worrying about a fire occurring and you not waking up the next morning," said Opelika Fire Chief Byron Prather.
The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign is nationwide effort. Since 2014, they've installed a quarter of a million smoke detectors in American homes for free. The free detectors are credited with saving 174 lives.

The Red Cross is teaming up with Opelika Fire to install the free devices in Opelika homes. They'll replace your worn out detectors and firefighters will create an escape plan for your family too.

"If you have children they need to know if they smell or see smoke or see fire to get out of the house and have a meeting place outside the house they all go to.  Never go back inside the house," advised Prather.

Marty Nelson with Red Cross says free smoke detectors are available to anyone, not just Opelika residents. To get one,  just contact your local Red Cross and set up an appointment.

"We do bed shakers for people with hearing disabilities, it will shake them and notify them with the smoke detector goes off," explained Nelson.
For Opelika Firefighters, the goal is simple and somber, to never lose another life in a house fire.

"It's never easy to lose an individual, especially children and certainly not more than one child. Not only does it break our hearts but  the community as a whole hurts with them. With that in mind we are doing anything we can do to bring prevention or knowledge to Opelika to keep that from happening. That's what we are going to do," said Chief Prather.

More residential fatalities happen in the night when victims are sleeping, and most fatal fires happen during the winter months of January and February when people use alternative heat sources. 

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