MACHIAS – The American Red Cross of Maine and local partners went to work Saturday installing free smoke alarms in Machias and East Machias homes as part of an ambitious national effort to cut home fire deaths and injuries by a quarter by 2019.
“Our first Home Fire Campaign event in Machias and East Machias was a great success. Home fires kill more people in the United States than all other natural disasters combined,” said Larry French, the Red Cross disaster program manager for Washington County. “Smoke alarms cut the risk of death from a fire in half and 101 people are now safer, thanks to community volunteers and local partners.”
Twenty-two volunteers fanned out after an orientation at the University of Maine at Machias. Together, volunteers from the community, the Machias and East Machias fire departments and Emera Maine installed 159 smoke alarms free of charge in 34 homes, increasing the safety of 101 residents. The event was made possible through a generous grant from Emera Maine.
“There is nothing more important to us at Emera Maine than safety,” said Stan Hartin, the company’s manager of safety. “The well-being of our customers, the public and our employees is paramount. This past fall, every Emera Maine employee took part in smoke detector, fire extinguisher and escape route-planning training, so this partnership with the American Red Cross is a natural extension of the work we’re already doing to keep people safe and one we’re proud to support.”
The American Red Cross in Maine has installed more than 5,000 smoke alarms in homes throughout the state over the past two years. On Saturday, teams built spoke to Machias and East Machias residents about fire safety and emergency escape plans and installed free battery-operated smoke alarms.
When a fire breaks out in a home, residents have only about two minutes to escape. A working fire alarm, combined with an emergency escape plan, greatly increases the odds of getting out of the home safely. On average, seven people die from a home fire every day in the United States.
The work in Washington County is part of the national Home Fire Campaign launched two years ago, which is now credited with saving at least 215 lives. The campaign has installed 744,000 free smoke alarms, replaced batteries in existing alarms and helped families create more than 263,000 escape plans.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit MaineRedCross.org, like the American Red Cross of Maine on Facebook or visit us on Twitter at @ARC_Maine.
About Emera Maine
Emera Maine is committed to delivering safe, reliable electric service. As the state’s second-largest electric utility, the company delivers electricity to 157,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across 9,350 square miles in five counties in eastern and northern Maine.