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Jacksonville’s homes are equipped with smoke alarms by the Red Cross



Jacksonville, Arkansas – Perhaps the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the American Red Cross is relief work during natural disasters. As they work on that, they also provide special attention to assisting those affected by house fires.

The Red Cross has been working to stop home fires for a number of years.

“Started in 2014… we’ve been installing free smoke alarms in homes,” Red Cross Executive Director Lori Arnold-Ellis said. “Ever since then, we renamed the campaign sound the alarm a few years ago.”

The group installed smoke alarms in homes throughout Jacksonville on Saturday in collaboration with the Jacksonville NAACP and the fire department.

“Arkansas has a very high home fire rate,” Ellis said. “We respond to anywhere between two to five smoking fires, home fires every day here in Arkansas.”

Although you would believe that every home had a smoke alarm, the fire service has reported that occasionally they find a few that don’t.

“I think that’s a common problem,” Jacksonville Fire Department Division Chief Michael Williams said. “No one expects to have a house fire. They don’t, but when it happens, it’s devastating.”

Wendell Ross has four non-functioning smoke alarms, and his house is one of many in the city where the Red Cross has ceased operations.

“You come in your house, and none of the smoke detectors are doing what they’re supposed to,” Ross said. “That’s a scary idea. You go to sleep up in here, too.”

These new ones he has will serve him well for the next ten years.

“I’m feeling good,” Ross said. “I got this big Kool-Aid smile on my face.”

Ross expressed gratitude and stated he can now sleep even better at home.

“Especially when my grandkids are over,” Ross said. “When they’re over, I’m half asleep trying to stay awake, make sure they are OK and everything’s alright. So now, when they come, I can close my bedroom off.”

The Red Cross reported that in addition to providing more than 120 smoke alarms, they also ensured that every home had a fire escape plan.



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