1,000 smoke alarms installed on the East Side of San Antonio

Red Cross volunteers go door to door to educate community

SAN ANTONIO – Alongside the fire department, the Red Cross is usually one of the first agencies to arrive on scene of a fire. Today, close to 400 volunteers went door to door on the city's East Side to help prevent disasters by offering free smoke alarms. The efforts are part of Sound the Alarm, a national event to end home fires.

All volunteers received training on where and how to safely install the alarms, as well as educate those living in the home.

Letty Olivarez answered her door and accepted the help. Olivarez has lived in her current home for seven years but had never installed a smoke alarm.

"We've been doing a lot of remodeling lately," said Olivarez. "(Smoke alarms were) at the end of our list for our remodeling."

With just a few marks on the wall and a drill, volunteers quickly installed the lifesaving device in one bedroom and the living room.

"If something were to happen, God forbid, I know (the fire alarm) would be an alert," said Olivarez.

The Red Cross says it's common to come across homes in Olivarez's situation, as well as those who have devices but don't maintain them.

"We can knock on a door and we hear the chirping of an alarm that needs new batteries," said Libby Castillo, Regional Communications Director for the Red Cross.

Volunteers replaced batteries and took a moment to educate kids through drawings. All families participating in Sound the Alarm were able to sketch out a plan in case they ever need an escape.

"Kids really retain that information and there have been cases where the children's education is what helped the family," said Castillo.

Families also determined a safe and nearby meeting place in case of a house fire.

All services were free and available to all people in need.

About the Authors

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.

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