Sound The Alarm: Red Cross Installing Smoke Alarms for Folks in Shamokin

SHAMOKIN, Pa. -- Dozens of Red Cross volunteers walked the streets of Shamokin on Tuesday installing free smoke alarms in people's homes.

The goal was to install 250 smoke alarms and make homes safer.

Bill Strausser of Shamokin has lived on Birch Street since 1962. He only has one smoke alarm in his three-story house and it doesn't work. That's why he welcomed Red Cross volunteers into his home with open arms. They were there to install three new smoke alarms.

"I think it's great," Strausser said. "I think it's a good safety feature. Most homes do not have them, or they do not have enough or they're not working."

Strausser wasn't alone. A lot of people don't have them. Volunteers for the Red Cross are trying to change that.

"We work with the local fire department to identify particularly high-risk neighborhoods, so we have five, six neighborhoods targeted for today," said Red Cross executive director Tom Szulanczyk.

As part of its "Sound The Alarm" initiative, the Red Cross is installing nearly 3,000 smoke alarms in homes across the state over the next three weeks. Volunteers installed around 250 in Shamokin.

"We put three or four of them in each of the homes we go into and it helps," Szulanczyk said.

There was a fire about two months ago at a house on Birch Street. According to officials, there were no smoke alarms.

A few doors down, Bill Strausser is thankful he now has working smoke alarms.

"(If my house) catches on fire, at least I might smell the smoke and hear it beep and it will make it safer."

The Sound The Alarm event will be in communities all throughout the state over the next few weeks. Crews will be installing smoke alarms in Mount Carmel on May 11.

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