Red Cross installs free smoke alarms on East Side

Sound the Alarm event aims to help keep families safer

San Antonio – Volunteers with the American Red Cross canvassed an East Side neighborhood early Saturday to install free smoke alarms. 

The Sound the Alarm event was held in participation with Dream Week.

According to Red Cross, seven times a day someone in the U.S. dies in a house fire. 

The goal of the Sound the Alarm campaign is to change statistics through preparedness and prevention.

"Fire is a year round threat, but especially in the winter.  As the temperature outside cools down, we turn the heater on in San Antonio," said Henry Van de Putte, Executive Director of the American Red Cross Serving Central Texas.  "But a lot of our houses, especially in older, at-risk neighborhoods like the one we're in today, don't have existing heating built into the homes, so they're using gas stoves to do it."

According to Van de Putte, there was a two week span in San Antonio in December in which the Red Cross responded to more than 31 house fires.

"We're not used to cold weather in San Antonio.  Especially in December, we had some real cold spells," Van de Putte said.

The 45 volunteers canvassing the neighborhood didn't just install free smoke alarms, they also talked to families about fire and disaster prevention.

"It's all about making homes safe, and you can do that a lot of ways.  A smoke detector is one tool.  The best tool is education," Van de Putte said.


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