Red Cross has alarming giveaway

Smoke detectors, batteries to be handed out this weekend

Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2005

American Red Cross volunteers will be in Kenai, Nikiski and Soldotna on Saturday, giving away home smoke detectors, batteries and fire prevention information.

Working in conjunction with Kenai and Nikiski fire departments and Central Emergency Services, the Red Cross hopes to distribute as many as 500 smoke detectors and 1,400 batteries in central Kenai Peninsula communities.

"We'll have 15 volunteers working between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday," said Annette Hakkinen, director of the Kenai Peninsula District of American Red Cross of Alaska.

The goal of the giveaway program, funded by a grant from the Allstate Foundation, is to save lives and protect private property by increasing public awareness of residential fire risks.

The event will begin with a light breakfast at the Soldotna Red Cross office, 35338 Kenai Spur Highway.

Following breakfast, volunteers will go door-to-door in the three communities distributing the smoke detectors and fire preparedness information and asking residents to push the test button on already installed smoke detectors to see if they are in working order. If not, new batteries will be given to the residents.

Late last year and early this year, the fire departments participated in a similar fire awareness campaign, giving out smoke detectors, batteries, fire extinguishers and carbon-monoxide detectors in a Homeland Security grant-funded program.

That program targeted senior citizens and families with children. The program this week does not have those restrictions.

"We want to reach neighborhoods that were missed," Hakkinen said Tuesday.

"We want to help Alaskans prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies," she said.

People who do not receive a smoke detector Saturday and would like one are asked to call the American Red Cross in Soldotna at 262-4541.

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