‘Sound the Alarm’ aims to save lives in Wyoming, Kentwood

Kent County

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Dozens of families have free working smoke alarms in Kentwood and Wyoming, thanks to an army of volunteers and the American Red Cross’ Sound the Alarm program.

Hundreds of volunteers met up at the Kentwood Public Library before heading out into neighborhoods Friday.

“We’re doing this because it’s our mission to save lives,” Red Cross volunteer Vicki Eichstaedt told 24 Hour News 8. “Every day in our country, seven people die in home fires. We’d like to reduce that number.”

Each group of volunteers came with smoke alarms, installation supplies and fire safety knowledge to share with residents.

Many of the volunteers, including Denise Grubb, are from Farmers Insurance. 

“We’re there after something happens. We really wanna help people before it happens,” Grubb explained. 

Volunteers canvassed areas deemed “vulnerable” in Kentwood and Wyoming. Some appointments were prescheduled, others were impromptu.

“By having a working smoke alarm in your home, you increase the chances of surviving a house fire by 50 percent,” Eichstaedt explained. 

Jackie and Ron Baldwin got word of the program after 24 Hour News 8 aired a story from Muskegon last week. 

They hadn’t had working alarmS in a couple months — until a group of volunteers stopped by Friday afternoon. 

“It’s wonderful,” Jackie Baldwin said. “I just called my daughter and they’re going to her house once she gets out of work.”

While the nationwide Sound the Alarm program ends this weekend, the Red Cross will still visit homes to install smoke alarms for free. If you’d like a visit from the Red Cross, go to redcross.org or call 616.456.8661, extension 5400.

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