The Northern Utah Chapter of the American Red Cross announced on Sept. 27 that it is partnering with Layton City Fire Department and Davis Hospital in an effort to install smoke alarms in Layton homes.

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Members of Layton City Fire Department and the Red Cross pose with students from Ogden Peak Communications who developed and implemented the PR campaign for Sound the Alarm. (Nina Morse / The Signpost)

The announcement came during a press conference that was hosted by the fire department shortly before their annual open house event.

The install event, dubbed Sound the Alarm, will take place on Oct. 14, at 10 a.m. American Red Cross volunteers and local partners will be canvassing neighborhoods, looking for houses that are in need of fire alarms.

“Our goal is to decrease home fires by 25 percent in the next five years,” said Madeline McDonald, executive director of NUARC. “And I do believe that by finding those homes that are not protected by smoke alarms and getting them installed, we will reach our goal.”

According to Doug Bitton, Layton City Fire Department public information officer, the city responds to roughly 20 home fires a year. “Many of them are absolutely devastating,” Bitton said.

NUARC hopes to install at least 600 smoke alarms. This past April, it held a similar event in Ogden in which it was able to install over 900 alarms with 300 volunteers.

This event is part of a much larger national event. Across the country, the American Red Cross will Sound the Alarm Sept. 23 – Oct. 15 through a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events.

Volunteers will canvass in more than 100 high-risk communities. American Red Cross volunteers and partners are expecting to be installing 100,000 free smoke alarms.

These events are related to the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign. The one millionth smoke alarm is expected to be installed during these Sound the Alarm events.

“With colder weather upon us, it is important for families to make sure they are taking every precaution when it comes to fire safety,” McDonald said. “Heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces or wood stoves can pose a fire hazard. Fatal fires peak in the very early morning hours when people are typically still asleep.”

The Red Cross responds to more than 64,000 disasters each year, most of which are home fires.

According to www.redcross.org, seven people die every day in a home fire. Having a working smoke alarm reduces the risk of death from a home fire by 50 percent.

Home Depot helped by donating a majority of the 10-year lithium powered batteries, with NUARC supplying the rest. NUARC also is conducting a volunteer drive in search of people to help install the smoke alarms and educate the community on fire safety.

Those needing smoke alarms will be allowed to receive up to three alarms. The American Red Cross volunteers will also be available to replace faulty smoke alarms and dead batteries.

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