LEESBURG —Lake County Fire Rescue, in partnership with the American Red Cross and the Mid Florida Lakes Emergency Response Team, installed 281 smoke alarms in 167 homes in the development on Wednesday. Fire personnel from Engine 71 and Squad 72 visited residents, educating them on fire safety and installing the free smoke alarms that have tamper-resistant, 10-year lithium batteries.
Home fires are the greatest disaster threat to individuals and families across the country, according to the Red Cross, which responded to more than 60,000 home fires across the U.S. last year alone. Launched in 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign aims to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 2019 through the installation of lifesaving smoke alarms, and by assisting families with home-fire prevention planning.
“Having a working smoke alarm gives residents valuable time to get out of a burning home and significantly reduces the chances of dying in a house fire,” said Lake County Fire Rescue Fire Marshal Capt. Michael Vitta. “Coupled with a family fire escape plan, operational smoke alarms save lives.”
In fact, the smoke alarm campaign has helped save 85 lives nationwide, the most recent, in St. Cloud, according to Alex Glenn, disaster workforce engagement specialist with the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross and its partners install a limited number of free smoke alarms for those who cannot afford to purchase them, or for people who are physically unable to install them. Last fall, Lake County Fire Rescue, the Montverde Fire Department and the American Red Cross partnered up to install smoke alarms in Montverde.
National statistics show that more than 95 percent of U.S. households have at least one smoke alarm installed, however, only 75 percent of all homes have a working smoke alarm.
For questions about residential smoke alarms, or for help changing a battery, call Lake County Fire Rescue at 352-343-9458. For more official information about Lake County Fire Rescue, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/firerescue, www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFireRescue or www.twitter.com/lakefirePIO.