ORLANDO, Fla. – After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Red Cross volunteers and Orlando firefighters joined community members for the in-person “Sound the Alarm” event in Parramore.
The group, covering about 300 homes, canvassed for outdated and broken smoke detectors to replace them for free. It’s all in an effort to make the community safer.
[TRENDING: Disney changes policy after school’s Native American chant at Magic Kingdom | Patience grows thin as stuck Norwegian cruise passengers wait for flights home | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
“It’s amazing for volunteers to finally get out and canvass the neighborhood with community partners and literally save lives,” said Greater Orlando Red Cross Executive Director Janice Moran. “There are a lot of older homes, many don’t have working smoke alarms.”
Smoke detectors can be the first line of defense for fires, but only if they work. The alarm should sound by pressing the test button. If not, it’s time to replace.
Orlando Fire District Chief Walter Lewis joined the groups going door-to-door, installing new smoke detectors.
“If we can prevent tragedy, we should get involved, and we can do that with these smoke detectors,” Lewis said.
Robert Spooney has been a pastor in the community for 10 years, serving as chairman for the Parramore Community Engagement Council. He said the smoke detector canvassing event was a result of their calls to the Orlando Fire Department to help the community be more proactive, potentially saving lives and property from fires.
“One of the issues that brought this to the forefront were the large amount of fires we had here during the winter. None of the homes had smoke alarms. Those fires could have been detected earlier and put out,” Spooney said.
After the fire is put out, it’s the Red Cross that responds, assisting families with food, clothes and a temporary place to stay.
“It’s just heartbreaking to see when a family just lost everything, but the smoke alarms saved their lives and that’s what matters,” Moran said.
The groups shared the same message: Make sure your smoke detectors are working. Fire officials recommend you replace your batteries once or even twice a year.
The group will return return to Parramore next weekend to make sure neighbors have working smoke detectors and to spread education about fire safety and the importance of escape plans.
You can request a free smoke alarm and installation through the Red Cross of Central Florida by clicking HERE.