by Dennis Dalman
Residents in and near Rice can get up to two free smoke alarms for their homes, thanks to a partnership between the Rice Fire Department and the Central Minnesota Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Residents in the Rockwood Estates Mobile Home Park, just south of Rice, are also eligible for the detectors.
All that residents have to do is sign up for the offer, which is valid for those whose alarms are 10 years old or older and for alarms that no longer function.
At the Oct. 4 Rice Fire Department Open House, two representatives from the Central Minnesota Chapter of the American Red Cross were promoting the offer to visitors, and some were signing up. Others may sign up until the morning of Saturday, Oct. 17 by going to Rice City Hall/Fire Hall, by calling 320-393-2280 or by going online to www.getasmokealarm.org. Volunteers are also needed to help install the alarms on Oct. 17 and, in some cases, on the following days whenever residents request. Anyone who would like to volunteer should email Katie at Katie.Ward@redcross.org
The two representatives at the open house were Katie Ward, preparedness leader for the Central Minnesota Red Cross Chapter; and Amanda Johnson, deputy preparedness leader.
Johnson said the volunteers will place up to two alarms per household, each of them by the busiest living areas.
Johnson and Ward passed out a flyer at the open house reminding visitors that seven times a day, someone dies in a house fire; that every 40 minutes an injury from a fire is reported; that nearly 1,000 times every day, fire departments are called to home fires; and that having a working smoke alarm can double someone’s chances of safely escaping a fire.
The American Red Cross’s Home Fire Campaign’s goal is to reduce fire deaths and injuries by at least 25 percent by the year 2019.