Saving Lives One Smoke Alarm at a Time

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SCRANTON -- On this holiday, there are many ways Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy are being remembered, including in many homes in our area in need of life-saving smoke alarms.

Up and down the streets in Scranton's south side, volunteers were on a mission to help deliver a potential life saver.

Mike Santiago opened his door, welcoming the American Red Cross volunteers who installed new smoke alarms as part of the organization's MLK Day of Service.

"I went to the door, wasn't expecting something like this," said Santiago. "This being Martin Luther King Day is a great thing."

The volunteers went going door to door in Scranton, Dunmore, and Wilkes-Barre trying to install 1,000 free smoke alarms and hoping to save at least one life.

"Our goal is to prevent 25 percent of the deaths caused every year by fires," explained Bill Goldsworthy, American Red Cross of Northeast Pennsylvania.  "The way you do that is smoke alarms. You have a minute to get out of your house."

Roughly 150 volunteers fanned out and found homeowners willing to have the alarms installed free of charge.

"A lot of people we've been to today, we've installed around 10, people open the door and are happy to have us," said Brandon Owens, Keystone Job Corps.

"I've seen houses burned down, on the news you hear all the time, people lost this and lost that. It's crucial. It's very important to have the smoke detectors," added Santiago.

Even Scranton firefighters went in search of homes for these smoke alarms, knowing full well the difference they make in life and death.

"Sadly, a lot of times on fatalities, there's a lack of smoke detectors, so they absolutely save lives," said Scranton Fire Chief Pat Desarno.

By the end of the day, the Red Cross of Northeast Pennsylvania will have installed more than 5,000 smoke alarms since the program began.

1 Comment

  • gizelli garcia

    That’s my son Jamal Featherstone mommy is so proud of you make your dreams come true…
    I love you

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