GLENS FALLS — The American Red Cross wants to install 1,000 smoke alarms in the city of Glens Falls on a single day to help protect residents from a potential tragedy.
“Every 8 minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster somewhere in this country. The vast majority are house fires,” said Gary Striar, regional chief executive officer for the American Red Cross Eastern New York Region.
Some of those fires result in loss of life that could have been averted with a functioning smoke detector. That is why the Red Cross launched the Sound the Alarm campaign in 2014. Since that time, the campaign has reached more than 1.7 million people and saved more than 500 lives nationwide.
The Red Cross is bringing the campaign to Glens Falls on May 4.
“It’s going to require an army of volunteers,” Striar said Thursday during a news conference at Glens Falls City Hall.
He anticipates that the Red Cross will need more than 300 volunteers to go door to door and help install free smoke alarms. To sign up for alarms or to find out how to volunteer, visit the website at SoundTheALarm.org/ENY or call 518-694-5121.
Glens Falls Fire Chief James Schrammel said people have as little as 2 minutes to escape from their house during a fire.
“You can save numerous lives just by having smoke detectors,” he said.
Schrammel said that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. It is important to check the expiration date.
It is also critical to have a fire safety plan. Even if people have smoke alarms, the Red Cross can assist with these plans, according to Schrammel.
Mayor Dan Hall said people in Glens Falls are very appreciative of its paid fire staff that can respond to a call in 3 to 4 minutes.
Glens Falls 4th Ward Supervisor William Loeb, who volunteers for the Red Cross, provided some other tips. The fire alarms should be placed in a location that is central to where bedrooms are. They should not be placed in a kitchen or area where they will be inadvertently triggered by cooking.
Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, said a house fire is about the worst tragedy someone could go through and a smoke alarm helps prevent the loss of life.
The local Sound the Alarm program is being funded by a $17,000 grant from Stewart’s Holiday Match. Other local sponsors are Hannay Reels, MVP Health Care, National Grid, NYCM Insurance, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Spectrum and State Farm.
American Red Cross spokesman Kimmy Venter said the organization picked Glens Falls for its campaign because it wanted an area with a good-sized population. Also, the agency has its office in the Travelers Building.
Similar events are taking place across the country during a two-week period from April 27 through May 12. This is the only one in this region.