Letter: SPFD, Red Cross: Smoke alarms save lives

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Did you know that when a home fire strikes, you may have as little as two minutes to make it out safely? Working smoke alarms provide an early alert that can make all the difference. They reduce the risk of death by half. They save lives.

That’s why the South Portland Fire Department and the American Red Cross are partnering for “Sound the Alarm. Save a Life.” On May 12, volunteer teams will be in Ferry Village to install free smoke alarms in homes that need them. We’ll also check the batteries in the alarms you already have, make sure existing alarms are within their 10-year lifespan and help you create escape plans.

Sound the Alarm aims to install 100,000 free smoke alarms nationwide over two weeks this spring. It’s part of the Home Fire Campaign started by the Red Cross in 2014. So far, it has resulted in the installation of more than 1.2 million free smoke alarms and saved at least 416 lives. In Maine, it’s installed more than 12,000 alarms, some of which saved the lives of eight Mainers.

With home fires killing seven people every day, we need to act. Sixty percent of home fire deaths take place in situations where the smoke alarms aren’t working or there are no smoke alarms present in the home at all. Learn how you can make your household and your neighbors’ safer by visiting SoundTheAlarm.org/Maine.

Fire Chief James Williams
South Portland
Kristen Simas
American Red Cross

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