Red Cross Volunteers Helping Keep Iowans Safe in Case of Fire

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A local organization is focusing its efforts on fire prevention this weekend by making sure Des Moines residents have working smoke detectors.

"I think it was still working, but it was over 10 years old. They said they needed to replace it, which they did. It was very nice," said Normal Stapleton, a Des Moines resident.

Stapleton was one of dozens of residents who had a new smoke detector installed in her home on Saturday afternoon because of its already derelict conditions. As part of the Sound the Alarm program, Red Cross volunteers and Des Moines firefighters went door to door on the city's east side.

The central Iowa chapter has already installed nearly 2,000 smoke alarms so far this year, and has helped those who believed their systems were infallible.

"Some say, 'we've got it taken care of,' some say, 'yes please, I want you to check out these smoke alarms,' or sometimes we just leave batteries and ask them how often they check their smoke alarms," said Red Cross volunteer Valarie Rich.

The Red Cross installed 750 new smoke detectors on Saturday. Last year they helped 265 families impacted by fire, and has already helped half that number so far this year.