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Volunteers install free smoke detectors in Hallsville

The American Red Cross of Central and Northern Missouri along with the Boone County Fire Protection District is installing free smoke detectors in more than 70 homes throughout Hallsville this weekend.

It’s a part of the national Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. The goal is to reduce the number of house fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent in the next five years.

Red Cross officials said they tend to respond to more house fire during the winter months.

“A lot of folks, unfortunately, heat their homes in unconditional way,” said David Griffith, Executive Director for the local American Red Cross chapter. “They’ll use space heaters, their stove, candles; they use any number of ways that are not safe.”

So far in 2015, the Boone County Protection District has responded to 71 structure fires. According to Griffith, there were 87 house fires in Boone County in 2014.

Firefighters responded to 45 structure fires between January and April this year.

Griffith said many people may not realize their smoke detectors are not working properly.

“When they check their smoke alarm and it beeps, they think it’s working,” he said. “But after ten years the sensors that are inside the smoke detectors really don’t work.”

Saturday, Griffith and other volunteers replaced smoke detectors in Alvin Jones’ home that were more than 15 years old.

“They told me they wouldn’t work,” Jones said. “I really appreciate them doing it because I can’t do stuff like that anymore.”

Jones and his wife, Dorothy, now have three brand new smoke detectors. Volunteers also went over a fire escape plan for every household.

“We’re also doing a lot of homes with small children,” said Mayor Cheri Reisch. “We need to make sure those children have an escape route, a plan and a meeting place outside their home so their parents will know they got out safely.”

Kath Mayne, Disaster Program Manager, said their local Red Cross chapter responds to about 30 house fires a month in the 29 counties they serve.

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