SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In a short time-frame of just three weeks, the American Red Cross hopes to install more than 100,000 free smoke alarms throughout the nation. And right here in Onondaga County, the local chapter is doing its part, visiting homes and Sounding the Alarm.
“They were in and out of here without me really paying any attention,” said Michael Dougherty, a Sound the Alarm client.
Michael Doughtery got two new smoke alarms and a few batteries replaced. He knew he needed to get involved with this initiative after his son lost his apartment to a fire last September.
“I know how important it is to have smoke detectors so you can get out. He’s got a wife and two little kids, so they all had to get out. It was a scary thing for me,” Dougherty said.
But he’s not the only one getting a visit from the Red Cross. They spent all day Saturday checking people’s current smoke alarms, installing new ones with ten-year batteries, and educating neighbors about fire safety. They’re giving away more than 850 smoke alarms throughout Onondaga County alone.
“We try to avoid those areas where a smoke alarm will become a nuisance, like directly in the kitchen where smoke from the stove or something can happen,” said Tom Czajak, Donor/ Development Officer with the American Red Cross of Western and Central New York.
Instead, they’ll put the alarms near bedrooms or places where the family tends to hangout. Once it goes off, experts say you have about two minutes to escape, two minutes you may not have without an alarm.
“Wouldnt it be great if we had no fires to respond to because smoke alarms are installed? People are able to get out of their houses, and that lives are saved,” Czajak said.
“You can’t have enough safety, I think, in your house,” Dougherty said.
If you need to make an appointment with the red cross, you can contact them in Syracuse at (315) 234-2200. They install alarms year-round and there are no income requirements.