Wheeling Fire Department, Red Cross ‘Sounding the Alarm’
WHEELING — After being delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wheeling Fire Department and the American Red Cross Ohio River Valley Chapter are resuming their plans to install nearly 200 free smoke alarms as part of their “Sound the Alarm” campaign.
Sharon Kesselring, executive director of the American Red Cross of the Ohio River Valley said Wheeling was chosen as one of three West Virginia “Sound the Alarm” cities in early 2020, with a goal to install free smoke alarms in homes, reducing the risk of death and injury due to a home fire. The pandemic halted that campaign.
“(W)e were all prepared to go ahead and have the event until the pandemic hit,” she said. “All of our smoke alarm installs across the nation with the Red Cross were canceled last year because of the pandemic.”
Starting this month and continuing through mid-April, Wheeling Fire Department personnel will volunteer to install free smoke alarms to anyone living within city limits, according to Wheeling Fire Chief Larry Helms. He said the department personnel already have scheduled 19 Wheeling residents for installation of the alarms and the department is taking all the proper COVID-19 safety measures in the process.
Those wishing to have a smoke alarm installed and receive free in-home fire safety and evacuation information are asked to register by calling 304-232-0712. Residents are asked to leave a voicemail message with their name, address, and phone number for a call back from the Red Cross. A representative will then inform the resident of an installation appointment date and time. You must be a Wheeling resident to qualify.
The “Sound the Alarm” campaign, established in 2014, has saved roughly 836 lives by installing more than two million smoke alarms, making more than 900,000 homes safer across the United States. Kesselring said Wheeling was chosen by the Red Cross as a Signature City last year based on a number of criteria, like how many fires occurred in the city in a given year.
The Wheeling Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention reminds everyone to test their smoke alarms monthly and to replace the batteries during the upcoming Daylight Savings Time change on Sunday, March 14. The smoke alarms being installed will last for 10 years. Anyone who has a smoke alarm more than 10 years old should have it replaced.