BILLINGS, Mont. - The Montana Red Cross and the Billings Fire Department are teaming up to install free smoke alarms in Billings homes Saturday and teach families about fire safety.
Red Cross and its volunteer partners, including the United Way of Yellowstone County and the West End Exchange Club, will go door-to-door in Billings neighborhoods, installing free alarms, testing existing alarms and helping families form a plan of how to safely escape their home during a fire. Volunteers team will visit homes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 11.
On average, families have less than two minutes to escape their home safely during a fire, about the amount of time it takes to brush your teeth.
"Every day, seven people in this country die in home fires and countless others are seriously injured – often because they don’t have working smoke alarms and a plan how to escape safely during a home fire," said Abbra Firman, the Red Cross disaster program manager for Eastern Montana. "We encourage everyone to test their alarms monthly and reach out if you need working smoke alarms installed in your home."
Home fires are the nation’s most frequent disaster and account for the vast majority of Red Cross disaster responses each year. In 2018, the Montana Red Cross responded to more than 240 home fires across the state, including 30 home fires in Yellowstone County.
The Billings Sound the Alarm event is part of a nationwide Red Cross effort to install alarms in homes in 100 U.S. cities during a two-week push this spring. Through its Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross and its volunteers have installed more than 1.5 million smoke alarms and saved more than 500 lives since 2014.
To request that the Red Cross and the Billings Fire Department install free alarms in your home, visit www.montanaredcross.org or call 406-210-8286. If May 11 doesn’t work with your schedule, plans can be arranged to install the alarms at a later date.
If you would like to volunteer during Saturday’s installation event, visit www.montanaredcross.org or call 406-210-8286 to learn more. Training will be provided.
THis article was updated with an alternate phone number for the Red Cross to sign up for installation requests and to volunteer.