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Sound The Alarm aims to save Huntsville lives from fire

Call 256-533-8609 between 8 a.m. and noon Tuesday to sign up to receive a free smoke detector.

Posted: Mar 11, 2019 6:28 PM
Updated: Mar 13, 2019 9:08 AM

UPDATE: If you missed the telethon you can still register by calling the Red Cross at 256-536-0084 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Sound The Alarm aims to save Huntsville lives from fire.

Last year, 13 people were injured in Huntsville in fires, and one person died.

Nationally, seven people die every day in house fires, and most victims don’t have smoke detectors.

WAAY 31 is partnering with the American Red Cross and Alabama A&M to reduce those numbers, and you can benefit.

In less than one month, hundreds of volunteers will be hard at work installing more than 650 free smoke alarms throughout Huntsville as part of the Sound The Alarm campaign.

All you have to do is call 256-536-0084 between 8 a.m. and noon Tuesday to sign up.

Some people already have signed up for the campaign. For many, it’s a personal experience that’s making them think twice about their smoke detectors.

“I actually signed up on behalf of my parents,” said Vernita Chandler. “They are longtime residents of Edmonton Heights and about 15 years ago, they had a fire in their home. Fortunately, we were not home when it happened."

Florine Smith also signed up.

“I was young when the room caught on fire,” she said. “My son caught it on fire by playing with some toy, so I know we definitely need one. We had to all run out to save our life and we just had one room to burn.”

Chandler says knowing her parents will have a new working smoke detector gives her peace of mind.

“If you're asleep or doing something in another room and you don't know that a fire had started in another part of your home, it is so very important,” she said.

On April 6, about 1,200 Alabama A&M students and Red Cross volunteers will go out to help install the detectors.

Students are training on how to do that now.

“The process is really simple,” said Trevaughn Nettles, Alabama A&M senior. “You just drill it in, and twist it on there. It’s a really great system."

The student volunteers are part of the university’s Serving The City campaign, which is a day of community service.

“We want to make sure they have the awareness, the knowledge of what to do in these situations, so when it comes up, you won’t be confused and you'll be able to take action immediately,” said Carliss Spencer, Alabama A&M junior.

Last year, the Red Cross installed more than 1,200 smoke alarms. Students say the long battery life is a plus.

"They last for 10 years, so they're long life and they ensure the safety of our community, and we try to do the best we can to serve everybody in the Huntsville area," said Nadia Young, Alabama A&M junior.

Another part of Sound The Alarm is educating families about fire safety and making sure they have fire escape plans.

“This is probably the greatest task we've been able to do, so we're really looking forward to it, and the impact on the community is going to be really big,” Nettles said.

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