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Project S.A.F.E

ELKHART – In the last six months Elkhart County has seen an unusually high number of house fires, a few which were deadly. On Saturday, hundreds of volunteers met at the Red Cross building to help boost the odds of fire survival for everyone in the county.

Executive Director for the Elkhart County Red Cross, Linda Nelson said typically fires turn fatal when people get no warning and get trapped inside the home.

To kick off fire prevention month, the Red Cross put together “Project S.A.F.E – Smoke Alarms for Everyone”

Most houses are equipped with smoke detectors, but not all of them work and it’s not because the alarms are broken. Nelson said, “More often it’s because the battery is missing or the battery is dead.”
Nelson said a lot of people pop and batteries out when the alarm starts to beep and just aren’t replaced. “It’s too easy to forget when you’re in the gas station to pick up a battery; it’s not at the top of your list,” Nelson said.

So with the help of nearly 400 volunteers the Red Cross delivered nine-volt batteries to almost ten-thousands homes in the county.
“I think a lot of people just forget about their smoke detectors,” Missie Dickerson said as she led a group of volunteers down a row of houses.

Dickerson said of all the houses she went to only 2-3 filled out forms to get a free smoke detector, but almost every person who opened the door took a battery.

“They never replace their batteries even though they know they should,” Dickerson said. And now, people don’t have an excuse, smoke detectors are available for free at the Elkhart County Red Cross and nine-volt batteries to power the alarms were left on door steps. “So hopefully it’s just a good way to get the battery to them,” Dickerson said.

About ten-thousand homes were hand delivered batteries free of charge Saturday morning, in hopes of preventing any more unnecessary injuries or deaths from house fires in the county.
Nelson said, “If it’s right there, handed to you, you’re more apt to put it in your smoke alarm.”

The Red Cross sees an increase in house fires during the holiday months and wants people to get prepared before then.

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