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Sound the Alarm: Red Cross, Worthington Fire Department to install free smoke alarms May 4

WORTHINGTON — According to the American Red Cross, seven people are killed every day in home fires.

On May 4, the Red Cross, Worthington Fire Department and community volunteers will team up to install up to 200 smoke detectors in Worthington-area households.

As part of the Red Cross’ “Sound the Alarm” outreach program, 50 volunteers are needed to help install free smoke alarms between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in households where the potentially life-saving technology is unaffordable or their  residents aren’t physically able to install them themselves. Community volunteers who sign up will be paired with either members of the Red Cross or fire department.

To register to volunteer, call (612) 391-1923 or sign up online at http://bit.ly/mnsta2019.

Worthington Fire Chief Rick von Holdt said volunteers will ask household residents a few questions and conduct a short inspection prior to instillation. Participants will also receive a packet with fire safety and smoke alarm information. Packets are available in English and Spanish.

The “goodie bags” also include fire safety-related activities, including one that encourages families to plan a fire escape route.

“It gets the kids involved at that level,” von Holdt said.

The event is targeting households within Worthington city limits, but von Holdt encouraged other area residents who have the need to reach out.

“If people call us from different (area) communities, we’ll make that happen,” von Holdt said.

Partnering with the Red Cross’ first-time event in the Worthington community is a way for the fire department to continue an outreach it spearheaded several years ago. According to von Holdt, the department handed out 250 free smoke alarms during its annual fire prevention pancake breakfast three years ago.

“If we run out (of smoke alarms) and need to get more, we’re going to be more than happy to help finance more if they need it,” von Holdt said.

Worthington residents who cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install them may request a free smoke alarm online at getasmokealarm.org, by calling (612 460-3674 or texting “ALARM” to (844) 811-0100. Households may be eligible to have up to three free smoke alarms installed during the May 4 event.

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