JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Members of the American Red Cross want you to think about safety when you're turning back your clocks this weekend.
Executive Director of the American Red Cross serving Northeast Arkansas, Pam Knapp-Carver, said she wants Region 8 residents to check their smoke detectors.
"This weekend, as we all start turning back our clocks and getting that extra hour of sleep, I want to remind you to please go out and check your smoke alarms," Carver said. "Make sure the batteries in your smoke alarm are strong and that your alarm is actually working. This is a great time to do that. If everyone every year would do this, it would help so much in saving lives."
Carver said if you don't have a detector already, you need one.
"If you do not have a smoke alarm, please get one," Carver said. "We have found in homes that have smoke alarms it reduces the chance of death by 50 percent. Having a smoke alarm does save lives."
Carver said members of the American Red Cross deal with house fires every day.
"The American Red Cross responds every day to home fires," Carver said. "Unfortunately, so many times we respond to fires where we have injuries and deaths. These can be prevented many times if we have a smoke alarm in the home. You may lose your home, but to have the time to get out of the home before smoke inhalation or fire causes and injury or death is so important."
Carver wants the number of house fires in our area to go down.
"Our goal is to reduce the number of deaths due to fires by 25 percent," Carver said. "We want to do this in a five-year period, and we're in our third year now. So, we are pushing, pushing, pushing. Asking people to please check your alarms if you have them and install them if you do not."
"In order for families to stay safe, particularly in a disaster or fire," Carver said. "Number one is to get that smoke alarm. Number two is to have an emergency plan, a disaster plan in place with your family. Have a disaster kit that's ready and in something that you can pick up and walk out of the house with. It should have things in it like water, crackers and things like that."
Carver said members of the American Red Cross work to help families get back on their feet.
"When we respond to a family that has had a disaster or fire we try to make sure they are okay," Carver said. "We try to help them figure out what they need to do so they can recover. We have very well trained case workers that go in and work with everyone in the family and determine what their needs are. We want to make sure they have somewhere to sleep. That they have food. That they have life sustaining medication. That they have clothes to put on. Eyeglasses. If they lose their eyeglasses, we want to make sure they get those replaced. If we have an incident where someone has been injured, or there is loss of life, then we also provide mental health counseling."
Carver said the smoke detector process is not a hard one.
"It's really easy to get a smoke alarm and get one installed," Carver said. "All stores have the smoke alarms. Such as Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot and Barton's have them. Installing them is easy. It's a matter of screwing a screw or nail into your wall and hanging it up."
Carver said if you're unable to get a smoke alarm on your own, call their office at (870) 932-3212, and they'll help you get one.
You can also contact the Jonesboro Fire Department if you are a resident inside the city limits.
They will install a smoke detector in your home, free of charge.
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