“Fires have the highest incident of fatalities in the United States. More than hurricanes, tornadoes, all combined. So if you have a working smoke alarm you have a greater chance of getting out alive. And that’s what we’re here to do,” says Susan Everitt, Executive Director of American Red Cross.
Last year in Augusta the American Red Cross installed over 1,400 smoke alarms. The goal today in Castle Pines Mobile Homes is to reach 200 at-risk homes.
“Unfortunately the way that mobile homes are made, they tend to go very quickly in fires. Traditionally you have 11 seconds to get out of a mobile home fire, so that’s really why we’re at the mobile homes today,” says Susan Everitt.
Orientation was held for 400 volunteers before they went to go knock on doors. Organizers say volunteers play a big role in their program. They learned how to properly install a smoke alarm and what to say to educate Castle Pines’ residents on fire prevention and preparing a fire escape plan with familes.
“I think they’re really appreciative. I feel like a lot of them don’t really realize that the smoke alarms that they have aren’t working, so I think the biggest thing is just educating them. The ones that we’ve seen are really old and they’re just really happy to have them replaced.” Cheyenne Jones and Kyra Brandt, Red Cross volunteers.
Organizers say they are not strangers to the area.
“There are some mobile homes that did have preexisting smoke alarms, and we actually were here at one point last year so we’re coming back to the places that didn’t have a smoke alarm or weren’t at home. And making sure that we hit those as well,” says Susan Everitt.
Volunteers were able to create some urgency to residents with keeping their families safe in mind.
“Because, I don’t want to worry about my sisters and my brothers. So that’s important to you for their safety correct? Yes. And why is that important to you? Because, I love them.” Haley Smith, Lives in Castle Pines
“Family is important to everyone, so being able to help protect your family is a really important thing,” says Cheyenne Jones.