The American Red Cross, the Sedalia Fire Department and local organizations are teaming up to help citizens stay safe with proper smoke detectors.
The groups will be going through selected Sedalia neighborhoods to install free smoke detectors Saturday, April 30 and trained volunteers will talk about fire safety and how families should prepare for home emergencies.
SFD Fire Inspector Jamie Volk said SFD was contacted by the American Red Cross of Kansas City about doing a smoke detector event due to the recent increase in fires this winter and spring in the area. He said Red Cross was contacted by a large corporation that wanted to remain anonymous that had spent “a large amount of money on a large amount of smoke detectors” and asked the Red Cross if it could help with getting them installed.
“This is the first time we’ve done a large canvas area,” Volk said. “We get a grant through a corporation in Sedalia that we purchase detectors every year. We normally give out 400 a year and with the American Red Cross program, now we’re going to try to install 1,000 smoke detectors in one day.
“Myself and the fire chief (Mike Ditzfeld) have sat down and pinpointed areas in the city where we’ve had large structure fires or a bad structure fire with a fatality. We’ve found four different neighborhoods in town that we will canvas pretty well.”
Volunteers from Pettis County 4-H, Show-Me Christian Youth Home, Civil Air Patrol, Whiteman Air Force Base, Kohl’s and Tyson’s will start a pre-canvas today through Saturday, dropping off bags that include fire prevention materials and a card with information about the free installation April 30, asking interested residents to be home between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. that day.
For the event April 30, volunteers from Open Door, Sedalia-Pettis County United Way, American Red Cross, SFD, Salvation Army and Whiteman will help with the installation of smoke detectors.
“If residents don’t get a bag on their door and they need someone to look at their smoke detectors, if you are in the city limits call the fire department and we’ll try to arrange to have someone out there,” Volk said. “If you’re not in city limits, you can still contact us and we’ll contact the American Red Cross and they’ll set up an appointment.”
According to a news release, the installation of the alarms is part of a nationwide campaign to reduce home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent during a five-year period. Home fires kill an average of seven people each day in the United States.
“(Smoke detectors are important) to get people out of their houses safely,” Volk said. “You have 25 percent better chance of getting yourself out of the house if you have a working smoke detector.”
Volk recommended citizens should change the batteries in their smoke detector twice a year when they change their clocks as well as check the detector once a month to make sure it sounds correctly. He said detectors should be replaced if it is more than 10 years old or if the resident doesn’t know how old it is.
Sedalia citizens who are interested in receiving a free smoke detector April 30 can call SFD for an appointment at 660-826-8044 or stop by SFD Headquarters on West 16th Street. Citizens outside city limits can call SFD and they will contact the American Red Cross or residents can call the local Red Cross at 660-827-0618.
Volk said citizens are welcome to call SFD at any time during the year to receive a smoke detector or assistance in checking a smoke detector.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.