On Saturday, the Spokane Fire Department and the American Red Cross teamed up to ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms were working in neighborhood homes and to install new alarms if needed.
Ryan Rudin, executive director of the Northwest North American Branch of the Red Cross, said the nonprofit has installed more than 2.3 million alarms nationwide since 2014. However, that hasn’t happened in the past two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is really the first time we’ve seen each other without masks, and we’re actually communicating with the public,” said Brian Schaeffer, head of Spokane’s fire department, of the show’s comeback. “It feels really good.”
More than 1,200 lives have been saved through the program, Rodin said, a statistic based on fires that broke out in homes where alarms were installed.
Ten groups from the Spokane Fire Department, the Red Cross and other agencies knocked on the doors of 500 high-risk homes on Saturday. Some residents invited them to check their alarms and install new ones, while others scheduled appointments for them to come back and other homeowners refused the free service.
Spokane Fire Marshal Lance Dahl led one group, checked and installed several neighborhood alarms.
He installed six smoke alarms in the first home the group visited. It’s common to find homes that don’t have stimulants to work or don’t have the right amount, Dahl said.
He said alarms should be changed every 10 years. He named the newly installed hardware with a 10-year replacement date on Saturday.
Dahl said every sleeping area should have a smoke alarm, and the common area of the home should have a carbon monoxide alarm, which should be replaced every seven to 10 years based on the manufacturer’s recommendation.
He said he tries not to install smoke alarms in kitchens to avoid false alarms.
John Orton, vice president of Yoke’s Fresh Market, documented general information about homes surveyed by Dahl, including the number of people living in the home, the number of home levels and the number of alarms in place.
Mike Camphouse, CEO of Peirone Produce Co., explained fire safety to residents, including how often they should check smoke detectors, how long they last and the need for a fire escape plan.
“It’s one of those things that you can do (and when) you’re done, you can actually think to yourself, ‘What you did today can make a difference,'” said Camphaus, who is also a member of the Red Cross board of directors.
Dahl installed two smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide alarm in Sylvia Hall’s mother’s home.
“I think it’s pretty cool, honestly,” Hall said of the neighborhood’s free fixtures.