Free offer by Red Cross could save lives and raise money

The American Red Cross is offering an in-home inspection and free smoke alarms in an effort to save lives.

(WPBN/WGTU) -- In a house fire, seconds matter. That's why a working smoke detector can literally be a lifesaver.

The American Red Cross knows that, and that's why they are teaming up with your local fire department to make sure your house has enough of them and that they work. The best part maybe that it won't cost you a dime.

When the Otsego County Fire Department and The American Red Cross showed up at Kathy Astbury's Gaylord home, they discovered what they see too often. A home with only one smoke alarm, and even it didn't have a working battery. "I was unaware of that" says Kathy, "I didn't know that the one we had upstairs didn't work." While smoke alarms are critical for any family, the time they could provide Kathy is even more important. Kathy has limited mobility. She admits, "There's only a certain amount of things that I can do for myself, not being able to move about freely, I need to be able to get around. I have to have time to get into my chair and be able to do go out if I have to, and with smoke alarms, it's a godsend."

When Kathy goes to sleep tonight, she will be safer thanks to the Red Cross's House Fire Campaign.

Three brand new smoke alarms were installed in her home as part of the campaign. The goal of the multi-year initiative is to reduce fire related injuries and deaths by 25 percent. Carol Rabineau is helping to make that goal obtainable. When her office gets a call from homeowner, she springs into action. "What we do is, we go into homes and install up to three smoke alarms per home for free," she says "We also do an educational component as well."

Carol explains that any homeowner can call the Red Cross or their local fire department. A team will come out, do a survey of the home by checking existing smoke alarms, and then replace or add new ones as needed, all free of charge. Not only will the Red Cross be doing its part in making sure local families stay safe, but in the process, they could be helping to earn a $250,000-dollar grant from DTE. The power provider set forth a goal for the Red Cross. If they could serve ten thousand homes in Michigan before the end of April, DTE will give the Red Cross a quarter of million dollars to further help local families.

Carol says the Red Cross has the smoke alarms and the crews needed to inspect and install, what they really need is for Northern Michigan families to step up and ask to take part in the campaign. To get scheduled for a free inspection and smoke alarms click here.

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