Free smoke detectors handed out to residents

CENTRALL FALLS (WPRI) – As the colder weather continues to roll in, many people are turning on the heat, which sometimes leads to house fires.

Members of The Red Cross volunteered their time to hand out free smoke detectors on Saturday.

Nationally, the Red Cross has a goal to reduce deadly fires by 25% in the next five years. It will take education and the right tools to accomplish that goal. On Saturday, the Central Falls Fire Department also assisted by providing instructions on testing smoke detectors and how to install new ones.

Chief Robert Bradley, Jr. says “We’ve had a pretty significant number of fires in the past year … Due to the fact that we have a very compact population, that whenever there is a fire, the amount of people that the Red Cross actually serves is quite substantial.”

Chief Bradley joined the volunteers as they hit the streets with a truck filled with smoke detectors. Elizabeth McDonald, with Red Cross Emergency Services talked to residents about cooking safety and exit plans, while the Chief tested smoke alarms in people’s homes.

The chief says it’s important to start teaching kids about fire safety at a young age. “I think significant progress has been made in the schools, starting with the kids very young. You can pretty much go to any local school now and ask the kids the number to call, they know about smoke detectors, they know about exit drills in the home.” Says Bradley.

McDonald smoke with one child who proved he was prepared in case of a fire. “He knew exactly what to do, he knew not to hide in the closet, not to hide under the bed and he needs to get out and that’s what we want to teach … We don’t want to have parents going back in after children, we want to make sure that everybody knows that everybody needs to get out of the house.” Says McDonald.

The Rhode Island chapter of the Red Cross has 300 smoke detectors, which volunteers will continue handing out in communities until all of them are installed.

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